The Rangers’ lengthy coaching search ended Tuesday with .
After the team fell way short of expectations in the playoffs, not only will part of the onus fall on Laviolette to change the narrative around the Blueshirts, but he will be inheriting a team that can get stuck in its ways at times.
The Rangers in the same few areas of their game dating back two coaching regimes.
Laviolette will probably want to start there.
Here are four statistical trends he needs to focus on:
More often than not, the Rangers’ X-factors have been special teams and star goalie Igor Shesterkin’s standout play. Those aspects have allowed the Rangers to make up for largely mediocre play at five-on-five over the past few seasons.
The Rangers haven’t finished with a Corsi — a metric for the percentage of shot attempts — above 50 at 5-on-5 since the 2013-14 season, when the team posted a 52.40 percentage.
A team with a Corsi above 50 percent is considered to be controlling the play more often than not.
This past season, the Rangers finished at 49.80, up slightly from marks of 47.03 percent in 2021-22 and 47.19 in 2020-21.
For comparison, the Hurricanes — who made it all the way to the conference final — had a 60.38 CF% during this past regular season.
Other numbers show the Rangers’ deficiencies at five-on-five: In their seven-game first-round playoff loss to the Devils, the Rangers allowed 33.45 scoring chances per 60 (while generating 24.59), including 16.82 high-danger chances against per 60.
It’s not that the Rangers are always on their heels, it’s just that during the spurts when they are, the team bleeds scoring chances at an alarming rate. When it rains, it pours.
The Rangers have needed to learn how to manage that for some time.
(All stats via Natural Stat Trick)
A staple on the Rangers’ fix list, the team continues to struggle on faceoffs.
To start with a positive, Vincent Trocheck — whom the Rangers signed to a seven-year, $39.375 million deal last offseason — won a career-high 56.07 percent of the faceoffs he took in 2022-23.
At the very least, president and general manager Chris Drury identified and signed a player who was meant to up the team’s faceoff win percentage, and Trocheck did so.
The rest of the primary draw takers, however, were below 50 percent. Mika Zibanejad, who took a team-leading 1,398 faceoffs, finished with a 49.5 faceoff win percentage. Barclay Goodrow won 45.9 percent, and Filip Chytil won a mere 39.8 percent of the 631 draws he took.
Since 2020-21, the Rangers rank fifth-worst in the NHL in faceoff win percentage at 47.5. Their even-strength FOW% is also fifth-worst at 47.6 over the same timeframe. Even on the power play, the Rangers rank No. 23 out of 31 teams (not including the most recent expansion team, the Kraken) over the last three seasons at 53.3 percent.
The Rangers did finish more toward the middle of the pack this past season with a 49.1 FOW%, which was tied with the Red Wings for 19th in the league. And their 56.4 FOW% on the power play was also decent, ranking 13th in the league.
(Numbers via NHL Stats)
This past season in particular, the Rangers gave up a lot of opportunities off the rush.
It was something the team recognized early and harped on when it came to identifying what they needed to do better.
Shesterkin limited the damage from how many times the Rangers surrendered odd-man rushes, but it was a hindrance all the same.
Looking at the numbers specifically against the Kid Line of Alexis Lafreniere, Chytil and Kaapo Kakko helps show why ex-Rangers coach Gerard Gallant wasn’t totally sold on the trio.
The three youngsters led the Rangers with 15 rush attempts against, though Trocheck, Artemi Panarin and Barclay Goodrow weren’t far behind at 12.
Cheating a bit on defense has to be part of the game for a team such as the Rangers with such an abundance of high-skill talent, but there needs to be a stronger system in place to limit all of the 2-on-1s and 3-on-2s.
(Numbers via Natural Stat Trick)
Chris Kreider often talks about how the Rangers need to be better on second and third scoring chances, as well as simply creating those additional opportunities.
The Rangers have a tendency to look for the prettier play over the most obvious shot, and it’s gotten them in trouble at times.
The Rangers generated 154 rebound shots this season, which ranked a lowly 28th in the NHL. They also ranked 29th in rebound shots above expected at 22.2. Their 17 rebound goals were the fourth-fewest in the league behind the Senators (14) and the Oilers and Red Wings (16).
These numbers are evidence of the Rangers’ need to improve their game around the net and in the dirty areas of the ice. There needs to be more scrappy play, specifically around the crease, to make it more difficult on opposing goalies.
Gallant preached getting to the net until he was blue in the face, but it never made its way into the Rangers’ game consistently enough.
(Stats from Money Puck)