New York Rangers with the Most to Prove as 2013-14 NHL Regular Season Ends

Jeremy Fuchs@@jaf78Correspondent IIIApril 9, 2014

New York Rangers with the Most to Prove as 2013-14 NHL Regular Season Ends

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    Frank Franklin II

    The New York Rangers have clinched a playoff spot, and now there are just two games left in the 2013-14 NHL regular season to determine what seed they will earn.

    Before the playoffs can start, though, the Rangers do have some things to figure out and to clean up. While they have played great hockey of late, the Rangers would be wise to ensure that a few players pick up their game.

    Which New York Rangers have the most to prove as the 2013-14 NHL regular season ends?

    Read on to find out. 

Marty St. Louis

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    Frank Franklin II

    Marty St. Louis played his best game as a Ranger Tuesday against the Carolina Hurricanes, notching three assists, including two on the power play.

    The Rangers can only hope that that will jump-start St. Louis. Because the fact remains that St. Louis has just one goal in 18 games with the Rangers—and only seven points.

    If the Rangers get the St. Louis that had three assists against Carolina or scored 30 goals in 80 games, then the Blueshirts will become a force to be reckoned with.

    But St. Louis has been too inconsistent. We've seen games where he has had so many chances and played well, even if he didn't score. But we've seen games where he hasn't done anything.

    He is too important to this team to disappear. With the playoffs on the horizon, the Rangers are hoping that St. Louis has found his game. If not, it'll be tough for the Rangers to score in the postseason. 

Raphael Diaz

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    Andy Marlin/Getty Images

    Since Ryan McDonagh got hurt, John Moore has averaged just under 19 minutes of ice time per game.

    Raphael Diaz, on the other hand, has averaged just 14 minutes.

    It's clear then that Moore has passed Diaz on the depth chart.

    Diaz hasn't really done much since being acquired from Vancouver. In nine games with the Rangers, Diaz has one goal, one assist and is plus-five.

    But ice time tells us how coaches perceive their players. Moore has been playing well since McDonagh got hurt.

    And since McDonagh is likely to return for the postseason, then it seems, unless Diaz can step up, that Moore will slide back to the third pair.

    That's not necessarily a bad thing, given that Moore has played most of the season on the third pair. But Diaz is better on the power play, an area where the Rangers have struggled of late.

    We'll see what happens in the final games. But unless Diaz picks it up, it looks like he'll be riding the pine in the postseason. 

Carl Hagelin

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    Other than his hat trick on March 14 against Winnipeg, Carl Hagelin has scored just five times in the new year.

    While Hagelin's main role is to provide speed and kill penalties, the fact remains that, with Chris Kreider on the shelf with a wrist injury, Hagelin is being asked to be a top-six forward.

    In reality, he's better served on the third line. But now he needs to provide offense, and he just has not done that.

    That's not to say that Hagelin hasn't been productive in other ways. He remains part of the team's best penalty-killing unit.

    But if Kreider doesn't come back, then Hagelin will need to step up. He will need to start scoring. If he uses his speed to crash the net and disrupt things on the forecheck, Hagelin has the skill to convert.

    Other than that game against Winnipeg, we haven't really seen that. The Rangers need Hagelin to play like a top-six winger.