Larry Brooks at the New York Post feels that the Rangers are lacking the defensive structure that defined the team last season.
Here's Ryan Callahan on that subject…
“The defensive structure is definitely a concern. It has to be better. We know that the foundation works. It was the basis of our success last year, but we haven’t been the same tight unit that we need to be."
John Tortorella says the team is looking at tape to correct the defensive deficiencies.
…while I agree with Brooks and Callahan regarding the defensive structure, the lack of physicality is more of a concern for me. If you look at the current unit, not one of them (maybe McDonagh) is physically intimidating. Which is why, and I hate to say it, it might be time to put Bickel back in the line-up.
…last season, he was more than serviceable, while bringing a physical edge that opponents needed to be aware of. But then he makes one turnover in the playoffs against the Senators, Torts benches him and he hasn't been the same players since. Gilroy has been better than expected, but building up Bickel's confidence by getting him back in the line-up is probably best for the Rangers in the long run. If opponents fear going to the goal, it makes it that much easier to defend.
…and for those of you looking for the Rangers to bring up McIlrath, kid isn't even close to being NHL ready yet.