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New York Rangers’ Player Grades, Part 3

February 16th, 2014 at 8:10 PM
By Ricky Cibrano

'Blues vs. Rangers-8774.jpg' photo (c) 2011, Sarah Connors - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/Two forward lines down, two to go. Let's take a look at the New York Rangers third trio of Brad Richards, Ryan Callahan, and Carl Hagelin.

Brad Richards

Coming off a dismal 2012-13 campaign in which he was even worse than the numbers indicated, Brad Richards desperately needed a bounce back year. So far so good for the 33-year old. Richards is obviously not the player he once was, but he's shown he still has some tread left on the tires, scoring 42 points, good for second on the team. His biggest impact has been on the man advantage, where he leads the Rangers in ice time with 3:48 per game, and is tied for the team lead with 15 points. The center has carved out a role for himself as the quarterback of the Blueshirts' resurgent power play, where his vision has helped transform a previously stagnant unit into a dangerous one. His efforts probably won't be enough to keep him from being bought out–nor should they be, Richards just isn't worth a $6.7 million cap hit through the 2019-2020–but his renaissance has been an important part of the Rangers' success this season. B+

Ryan Callahan 

It's been a struggle for the Rangers' captain this year, both to stay healthy and produce. Callahan has missed 17 games, has seen his power play time reduced, and is in the midst of a forgettable stretch in which he's scored just 5 times in 32 games. The down year couldn't have come at a worse time for the US Olympian, who, as you may have heard, is a free agent at the end of the season. Callahan continues to do the little things well–kill penalties, block shots, hit–but as time has gone on, it's become very apparent his skill set fit the old regime better than the new one under Alain Vigneault, a fact Glen Sather appears aware of as he haggles with and shops his captain. The soon-to-be 29-year old has looked good so far in Sochi, throwing his body at everything that moves, albeit while failing to find the net. The Blueshirts will need more of the same inspired play he's exhibited in the Olympics from their captain–and maybe even the occasional goal–when he returns home from the Sochi. B-

Carl Hagelin

Carl Hagelin has been exactly what he's expected to be, no more, no less. The swift swede missed the first 10 games of the season as he recovered from offseason shoulder surgery, but since then, has scored at about a 20-goal pace, which is exactly where you expect him to be. He kills penalties and is always the first man in on the forecheck, but now in his third season, it's become apparent the 25-year old will never become a bona fide scorer. While he has absolutely blinding speed, Hagelin just doesn't have the natural finishing ability or hands that sets goal scorers apart. But that's okay–Hagelin is a very useful, energetic, third line player–think a smaller Jason Chimera, but with a little more skill–who, as a 6th round pick, has already far exceeded expectations. As long as Hagelin keeps his wheels, he should be a good player for years to come, albeit one worthy of no more than a complementary role. B+


 

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Tags: 2014 Olympics, Alain Vigneault, Brad Richards, Carl Hagelin, Glen Sather, Hockey, New York, New York Rangers, NHL, Olympics, Ryan Callahan, Sochi

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