After reaching the Eastern Conference Finals and falling one win short of a Stanley Cup Final berth, the New York Rangers' results in the 2022-23 season have left much to be desired. The Rangers haven't been bad
, but a record of 12-10-4 doesn't exactly line up with expectations after a very successful season.
According to several insiders, such as Elliotte Friedman and Emily Kaplan, Rangers' owner James Dolan is monitoring the situation closely and demands accountability and answers. For those who may have forgotten, this is the same Jimmy-D who fired Jeff Gorton and John Davidson because the team got bullied by Tom Wilson
that one time.
Dolan has often been criticized for having too much of a presence in his teams' operations. Which, as a GM or President of Hockey Ops has to be frustrating. This story by Larry Brooks of the New York Post
summarizes Dolan's relationship with his teams perfectly.
Perhaps there is a bit more nuance to the situation than my summary suggests, but the gist of it is: Jeff Gorton and John Davidson committed to the 'slow & steady' approach to building a team, and Dolan wanted results sooner than later. Hence, Davidson and Gorton were both let go.
Flash forward to today, and the Rangers' young players - Alexis Lafreniere, Kaapo Kakko
, etc. - are struggling. Without Igor Shesterkin
, Artemi Panarin
, Mika Zibanejad
, and Chris Kreider
each firing on all cylinders, the Rangers just aren't the same.
Some have criticized Gerard Gallant for neglecting to develop his younger players properly, and perhaps that is correct. But systematically, not much has changed from last season. Merely the team's results in its two most critical areas: powerplay and goaltending.
In '21-22, the Rangers boasted the NHL's 4th-best powerplay, clicking at 25.23%; this season they are operating at a 21.35% efficacy rate; good enough for 13th in the NHL. Igor Shesterkin
won the Vezina Trophy last season with a 2.07 GAA & .935 SV%. This season, he has managed a 2.67 GAA & .910 SV%.
Ironic, isn't it? James Dolan is unhappy with the results for which he is almost exclusively responsible and demands accountability. If, by chance, any of our readers are familiar with the Netflix show, I Think You Should Leave
, this reminds me a lot of the hot-dog car scene.