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Simply put, the Rangers are not scoring enough goals right now.
They and Florida are tied for last in goals scored in the Eastern Conference. When you consider the money general manager Glen Sather has spent on forwards in the past four years, there’s a legitimate cause for concern.
Brad Richards hasn't scored a goal in 14 games, while Marian Gaborik only has two during the same stretch. Rick Nash, despite missing four games due to injury, has appeared in 15 games this season and only has scored four times, though it must be noted that he has had a much larger hand in creating offense than the other two.
Nevertheless, the Rangers have nearly $30 million in cap space tied up in these three players, and together they have combined for only 13 goals.
Steven Stamkos of Tampa Bay has 14.
Why can’t these three score consistently? They all have their reasons.
Gaborik is back to playing like he did in 2010-11, and by that I mean he’s playing too much to the outside. That’s not how he scores goals. He’s got to get to the net and use his natural goalscoring ability to sniff out goals. But right now he’s trying to do too much with the puck on the boards.
Richards is just shot. He doesn't have his legs, he holds onto the puck way too long and he’s obviously battling some confidence issues. He has to keep it simple and get back some of his swagger, because right now he has just about zero impact on the ice. If the Rangers offense is to succeed, the team will need its first-line center to play well, at the very least.
Nash has looked good for the most part; he just can’t find the back of the net. He has been the team’s only offensive facilitator and has had a big part in Carl Hagelin turning around his game. He’s just going to have to stick with it and keep shooting the puck. The goals will come soon enough.
Though these three are most responsible for the team’s lack of goals this season, this problem also falls on the shoulders of the depth forwards.
Hagelin, Derek Stepan and Ryan Callahan have been contributing as of late, but guys like Brian Boyle, Chris Kreider, Taylor Pyatt and Jeff Halpern are going to have start pitching in too. Balanced scoring is a must, and these four, along with J.T. Miller, Darroll Powe and Arron Asham, are going to have to score at a much higher rate than they currently are.
Those seven players have a combined eight goals thus far.
Lastly, and I won’t go into this too much because it's already well documented, the power play has been pitiful.
All this talent and they’re ranked near last in the league? It’s unacceptable, and the players need to take it upon themselves to keep it simple and shoot the puck.