Opinion: Grading the 2024 Rangers Based on Their Performance in the Playoffs

Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

With the Stanley Cup playoffs now in the rearview mirror for the New York Rangers, it is time to grade the team based on how they performed in the postseason.

Head Coach
Peter Laviolette: 
For all the right buttons he pressed in the regular season, he pressed a lot of wrong ones in the postseason. He was wrong not to use Matt Rempe more and he should have at least thought about scratching players like Alexander Wennberg and Jack Roslovic since they hardly contributed anything when the going got tough. Grade: B-

Goaltender
Igor Shesterkin: The Rangers made it as far as they did because of how great Shesterkin was. He finished the playoffs with a record of 10-6, with a 2.34 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage. Grade: A

Forwards
Vincent Trocheck: If a team needs the perfect playoff-like player, Trocheck is that guy. He did it all for the Blueshirts in the postseason as he forechecked, backchecked, created turnovers, and led the team in scoring with 20 points on eight goals and 12 assists. Grade: A

Alexis Lafreniere: After showing both the Rangers and the NHL that he finally arrived after being taken first overall in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, Lafreniere was terrific in the playoffs. He finished with 14 points (eight goals and six assists) in 16 games and was one of the team’s most consistent offensive threats. Grade: A

Barclay GoodrowThere is no doubt that Goodrow is better suited to play playoff hockey than regular season hockey. After being mostly non-existent in the regular season, Goodrow had eight points on six goals, one of which was in overtime in Game 2 against the Florida Panthers in the Eastern Conference Finals, and two assists in the postseason. Grade: B+

Chris Kreider: Kreider singlehandedly got the Blueshirts into the Conference Finals with an epic performance in Game 6 against the Carolina Hurricanes. In that game, he scored a natural hat trick in the third period and saved the Rangers from facing the Hurricanes in a Game 7 at Madison Square Garden. Grade: B

Matt Rempe: There is no doubt that Rempe should have played more in the playoffs. When he was on the ice, he made a positive impact as he was physical, drove hard to the net, created havoc for the team’s opponents, and looked like he belonged out on the ice. Grade: B-

Jimmy VeseyThe Rangers missed Vesey after he got hurt in Game 2 against the Panthers. In Vesey, the Rangers have a versatile player who can play in every situation and also slot in on any line rather easily. Grade: B-

Mika ZibanejadAfter getting off to a great start in his team’s first-round sweep of the Washington Capitals, Zibanejad cooled off considerably and was terrible against the Panthers in the Conference Finals. He had just two assists in the series and was not able to come through when his team needed him the most. Grade: C

Will Cuylle: For a rookie, Cuylle held his own in the postseason. He may not have done a lot offensively (two points), but he was smart with the puck, was responsible when he was on the ice (was a +/- + 3), and went hard every shift. Grade: C

Artemi Panarin: Performing poorly in the playoffs is now a habit for Panarin. He may run wild on the league in the regular season, but come playoff time, his offensive prowess disappears, and he is a shell of himself, which was certainly the case against the Panthers as he had just one goal and three assists. Grade: C-

Jack RoslovicRoslovic may have had eight points, but he is not the kind of first line winger that the Rangers are looking for. This was a swing and a miss for Drury at the trade deadline. Grade: D

Kaapo Kakko: It is simply not working out for Kakko on Broadway. He has not taken the necessary steps to show that he can be productive as he had just two points in the playoffs, a number that is unacceptable for the second overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. Grade: D  

Alexander WennbergIt is clear that acquiring Wennberg at the trade deadline was another mistake that Drury made. He did not do anything offensively and did not make any kind of an impact while he was on the ice. Grade: D

Filip Chytil: The truth is that Chytil probably should have never played in the playoffs. It is tough to come back from a concussion and play at the toughest part of the year and expect to contribute at a high level after being gone for so long. Grade: Incomplete

Blake Wheeler: The same can be said of Wheeler. While Wheeler worked his tail off to get back in the lineup, he probably should have forgone the postseason and focused on being ready for next year. Grade: Incomplete

Defense
Ryan LindgrenLindgren was the team’s most consistent defenseman in the postseason. He blocked a lot of shots, played a physical brand of hockey, was engaged on every shift, and was responsible with the puck in his own end. Grade: A

Adam FoxIt is unfortunate that Fox played hurt for most of the playoffs, as he did not look like himself for much of the second and third rounds. Nevertheless, he still had eight points, was a +/- + 5, and averaged close to 24 minutes of ice time (23:57) in the postseason. Grade: A-

Braden Schneider: Like Lindgren, Schneider is as steady as they come, whether it is in the regular season or playoffs. He does not make a lot of mistakes, he knows when to step up on the blue line to keep the puck in the offensive zone, and he is usually always in a good position in the defensive zone. Grade: B+

Erik GustafssonAfter having a solid regular season, Gustafsson was not as good in the postseason. He was a +/- – 3, and he gave up the puck several times in his own end. Grade: C

K’Andre Miller: Miller may have a lot of great offensive instincts, but he struggles at the position he is supposed to play, which was the case against the Panthers. He finds himself out of position, he gives up the puck a lot, and he looks lost in his own zone. Grade: D

Jacob TroubaTrouba may be the team’s captain and influential leader in the locker room and played with an ankle injury, but he was certainly not a leader on the ice. He took a lot of bad penalties, was too focused on trying to throw a big hit, and, like Miller, was out of position in his zone way too much. Grade: F

In this week's episode we talk about Schnieder, Lindgren's future with NYR, and with Drury seemingly done with off seaon moves the outlook of this team.How to support us and our sponsors:Columbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITRThanks for listening! Please rate and review our show on your favorite listening platform. Check out our partner's website at www.insidetherink.com for all your latest hockey news.
  1. Running it Back
  2. Guest Will Wright
  3. There's more to come……….Right ?
  4. Guest Colin Stephenson
  5. Guest HockeyStatMiner

Patrick Hoffman

Patrick covers the NHL for Inside The Rink. He has previously covered the league for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave, WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

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