John Moore and Derick Brassard celebrate a goal at Madison Square Garden.
General manager Glen Sather’s abrupt shake-up has woken a number of players who've meddled in mediocrity for most of the season. The shipping-out of Marian Gaborik will serve as a constant reminder to players underperforming that if you don’t earn your paycheck, you’ll be on your way out.
But it’s been the arrivals of Ryane Clowe, Derick Brassard and John Moore that have provided the much needed depth required to play the John Tortorella-brand of hockey that made the Rangers so successful in 2011-12.
A lack of secondary scoring and quality depth players have severely limited the steam’s ability to consistently perform well. All three acquisitions have jumped into the lineup and given it a number of different dimensions it lacked all season.
After the jump, we’ll specifically assess the performances of the three new acquired who've seen action for the Rangers.
Ryane Clowe skating in a game for the Rangers in Pittsburgh.
The Rangers have been a team struggling to score goals all season, so when they sent two draft selections to the San Jose Sharks for Ryane Clowe on the eve of the trade deadline, many were left scratching their heads.
Before joining the Rangers, Clowe had zero goals in 28 games. He’s a player who’s averaged 20 goals the previous four seasons, and the hope is that he can return to form as a Ranger.
In his first game as a Blueshirt, Clowe picked up his first two goals of the season and added an assist. His work in front of the net and on the boards was instrumental on the power play, as the team went on to bury three goals on the man advantage; the most they've had in a single game all season long.
Since then, though, he’s disappeared a bit. He’s remained a presence on the boards the past three games, but he isn't getting to the net enough. A bobbled opportunity in front of James Reimer’s net on Monday night was probably his only real scoring opportunity since his first game with New York.
Though he’s been a physical force and sound defensively, the Rangers desperately need Clowe to start heading to the net again. Despite his struggles finding the back of the cage this year, one of the major reasons the Rangers acquired the 30-year-old was for additional offense.
Brassard in a game versus the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Brassard is a player the Rangers have been rumored to land for years now, and when I heard the Rangers sent Gaborik to Columbus, Brassard was the first player that came to my mind.
He’s got silky smooth hands and great skating ability; he just hasn’t been able to put it all together.
His injury-riddled tenure with Columbus could have much to do with that, though. Brassard, at only 25 years old, has had multiple hand and shoulder injuries, and even had major shoulder surgery late in 2008.
At the time of his injury, he had 25 points in the Blue Jackets first 31 games.
When he arrived in New York, he had 18 points in 34 games. His first game was also a major success, as he potted one goal and three assists. It was the first four-point game of his career.
He, too, helped facilitate the Rangers power play, but he did it with his slick passing and poise in front of the net.
But since April 3, he’s had zero points for the Rangers in three games.
Despite that, his line has been the team’s best forechecking option. Brian Boyle and Carl Hagelin have complimented the newcomer well, and all three players have found themselves with scoring opportunities on their sticks.
The trio now have to find a way to convert.
Brassard has also impressed in the neutral zone. He’s had his hand in a number of takeaways, and his ability to move the puck quickly, or skate with it, has helped the team transition well.
He’s been a great fit as a third-line center, and he’s got the skills to be a second-liner. The points will start coming, but thus far, he’s been a very nice surprise.
Moore in his first game as a Ranger.
John Moore is the wild card of the Gaborik deal.
Brassard and Derek Dorsett are players known around the league, and you've got a pretty good idea of what you’re going to get out of them.
But Moore is only 22 years old and has played in just 90 NHL games. The verdict is still out on him.
After the deal was made, the only real scouting report anyone had on him was that he’s an exceptional skater.
And he hasn't disappointed in that respect after four games with the Rangers, but it doesn't look like he’s got too much of an offensive upside. Moore seems hesitant to move the puck too far into the neutral and offensive zones. He appears to be more of a steady, calming, stay-at-home type.
Which means he’ll fit right in. The Rangers like blueliners who are composed on the back end first and foremost.
I think he’s got to be a little more physical and engaged along the boards. He’s been thrown around a bit in the corners, but his skating ability and intelligence has allowed him to corner off attackers and make the right play.
He reminds me of Ryan McDonagh somewhat, but he’s got ways to go before he’s anywhere near that level. Working with Tortorella will be great for Moore, but some bulking up and confidence with the puck can go a long way for this young man.