One of the biggest parts of the New York Rangers great season was their defense.
So far we have graded all of the forwards but now it’s time to look at the likes of Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh and company.
Schoeller: Bickel started off hott (yes, it warrants 2 T’s), showing little to no rookie jitters. Eventually, he petered off a bit, maybe becoming a little too comfortable. He’s sure to be a top 6 next season.
Decker: Del Zotto had a break out year. After an off-year last season, the young defenseman really came back with a vengeance and added a tremendous amount of offense to the Rangers’ back end. Unfortunately, he had one of the worst playoff performances I’ve ever seen.
Garabedian: He had a stretch where he played very well after Mike Sauer’s injury, but after his shoulder and ankle injuries he was barely useful as an extra defenseman down the stretch. Eminger won’t be back next season, though he can probably still be a serviceable 6th or 7th defenseman somewhere in the NHL.
Miller: What else can you say about the 2011 – 2012 All-Star D besides saying he is one of the best shutdown D in the league? He led the league in minutes played in the postseason and was second overall in the regular season. He also placed 8th among NHL defensemen in hits while ranking 5th in shot blocks. What a stud.
Ragus: McDonagh showed this season why Glen Sather was brilliant in heisting him from the Montreal Canadiens. With 7 goals and 25 assists throughout the season, McDonagh did it all and on both ends of the ice. His defense was brilliant and his knack to rush back to the defensive end after a breakdown showed the maturity and skills of this kid. Top d-man all the way.
Garabedian: By the end of the season he was playing so well that you would have never guessed he missed the first half of the season. Once he got his conditioning back and regained his confidence to play physical he was back to being a beast, AKA playing like the real Marc Staal.
Decker: Many were quick to give Anton Stralman the boot whenever he made a play that made you scratch your head. But in all honesty, he made more good plays than he did poor ones. He was a pleasant surprise to the Rangers’ defensive core and I hope he remains a Ranger.
Schoeller: Woywitka is a talented D-man, but sadly there is no room on the roster for him with guys like Bickel, Staal, and Girardi playing well. He played few games, but played well in those games.
Miller: What a dud. He was added because he was supposed to be one of the most feared pugilists in the league but lost the one and only scrap I remember him getting into.
Ragus: For a guy who was supposed to be the man on the 2nd pairing it turned out that his injury plagued past is now also in the present. He suffered a concussion only 19 games into the season and no one has heard about him since. I think this is going to be a very bad one to come back from for Sauer and actually doubt we will see him in a Blueshirt again. Very sad for such a talented d-man.
There you have it, the Rangers defensive corps. Not so bad right?
With guys like Ryan McDonagh, Michael Del Zotto and of course the prospect of Dylan McIlrath coming up the future is so very bright for the Blueshirts on the defensive end of the puck.
Next up, Goalies and Coaches!
- New York Rangers Report Card: Centers (nyrnation.net)
- New York Rangers Report Card: Left Wingers (nyrnation.net)
- New York Rangers Report Card: Right Wingers (nyrnation.net)
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