Now that the Worlds Championship has ended with Canada taking home the Gold (Shocker), lets discuss the impact of the tournament for the Rangers. The Rangers have 5 players representing their countries at the IIHF World championships. Included are superstars such as Derrick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello, along with established NHL/AHL player Raphael Diaz and hopeful up and coming NHL stars Nick Jensen and Brady Skjei. Below we discuss these players performances at Worlds and also their impact on the NYR in the upcoming 2016-2017 Season.
Derrick Brassard (Canada)
Brass has continued his excellent play from the regular season to Worlds netting 5 goals and 6 assists through 10 games. There is no hiding that Brassard is a vital piece of the Rangers organization going forward. At only 28 years old, Brass will be one of our top 2 centers for years to come and in my mind trumps Stepan for 1C every time (I know some of you wont agree, prove me wrong). Brassard also plays a pivotal role in quarterbacking the power play. His hockey knowledge and above average passing make him a top candidate to run the PP from the point along side a big D-Man who can shoot the puck (Yandle? McDonagh?). Brass found his scoring touch the last 2 years and looks to be getting better each year, lets hope that trend continues.
Mats Zuccarello (Norway)
Zucc has been quiet at Worlds posting only 1 goal and 2 assists in 7 games. This could have to do with the fact that Norway does not have the most skilled team and going up against powerhouses like USA and Canada wont help those numbers. Not a single person who calls themselves a Rangers fan would suggest that Zucc isn’t a New York Ranger through and through. He is truly irreplaceable on the ice as well as in the locker room. I would be surprised if Mats Zuccarello retires with any other color but Red, White, and Blue and the organization owes him that. Zuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucccccc!!
Raphael Diaz (SUI)
Not much to say here. Diaz played in a few regular season games and was inserted into the lineup for a dismal game 5 defeat and elimination against the Pens. Diaz has posted 6 assists in 5 games at Worlds for Switzerland. I’m fairly confident that Diaz will not return a New York Ranger to be locked into the AHL. He’ll likely walk to another NHL team and try to make a roster during camp. The Rangers should walk away and insert McIlrath into his position.
Nick Jensen (DEN)
Jensen has been the biggest surprise so far at Worlds. To the Rangers this could be the perfect opportunity to give the young rising star a chance at the opening day roster during camp. With the organization looking to shake things up and anticipating them injected some youth into the roster, Jensen is a perfect match. At Worlds Jensen has posted 5 goals and 2 assists in 8 games. Jensen has a chance to make the team next season and could provide a spark in offense to the third or fourth line. Much more Hockey needs to be played in order to see Jensen’s full potential, however the brief showing allows Ranger fans to see the future in the youth.
Brady Skjei (USA)
The emergence of Brady Skjei was one of the biggest story lines during the playoffs this year (which is kind of sad in itself). His ability to step in for the injured McDonagh seamlessly without making any crucial mistakes, during the NHL playoffs, showcases the poise and skill this kid offers. There is no question in my mind that Brady Skjei will be on the blue line come opening night and hopefully for many opening nights to come. I expect this upcoming year to be a growing year for Skjei, with him adjusting to the speed and skill of the game at the NHL level and also adjusting to the daily grind of the big league schedule. If he can play hockey anywhere close to what he showed us in April I expect him to be a solid addition to the defensive core. At Worlds he posted 1 goal in 10 games.
In case you weren’t paying any attention Canada brought home the Gold, Finland the silver, and Russia crushing the United States 7-2 in the bronze medal game. With the NHL leaning towards not allowing players to compete at the upcoming Olympics in 2018, these events are our only chance to see professional players compete for their countries.
Comment on the post and let us know which of these players will have the biggest impact on the team moving forward.
As always, Let’s Go Rangers!