When the Rangers announced that they had traded Michael Del Zotto to Nashville in exchange for Kevin Klein, Blueshirt fans partied like it was
The underachieving defenseman was known for creating more offensive opportunities for opponents than the Blueshirts. He also never developed into the power play quarterback we all hoped he could.
Or maybe he did. Larry Brooks at the New York Post points out that when the Rangers traded Del Zotto on January 22nd they were near the top of the NHL with a 20% (37-for-186) success rate. Since? Try 12% (9-for-78).
While that’s a staggering difference, it’s got to be just a coincidence. Right? Maybe not as Brooks give us these stats…
“Del Zotto was on for a power-play goal once every 7:30 of ice time, the best such ratio of any Rangers point man. Richards has been on for one per 8:16; Ryan McDonagh for one per 9:38; Dan Girardi, one per 11:50. John Moore, one per 10:20. Rafael Diaz has been on for one in 18:05.”
The Rangers are 5-for-52 (10%) on the power play in the 17 games since the March 5 trade deadline. One of those five was an empty netter, while another was a 5-on-3.
…to me, this is more of an indictment of how bad Richards has been at the point than how good Del Zotto was. One stat Brooks conveniently leaves out in his praise of the former Rangers defenseman is the number one. As in he scored just ONE power play goal this season. In fact, Del Zotto had a mere four power play goals combined the last four years. And it’s not like Del Zotto was Magic Johnson on the point either as he had a minuscule four power play assists before the trade. Not to mention all the power plays he destroyed by not being able to keep the puck in the offensive zone.
…so if this is just a crazy coincidence, what the hell happened? Maybe opponents have figured out what the Rangers are doing with the man advantage and Arniel has been slow to adjust or possibly they’re deferring too much to St. Louis who is having his own issues getting comfortable on the Blueshirts lefty dominate power play. What I do know is that there’s not enough puck movement or traffic in front. Maybe it’s time to simplify things. Get a big body in front of the net and start firing away. Remember when Pouliot turned his season around by parking himself in front of the opponent’s net on the power play back in December? They need to get back to that strategy stat.
…it’s gotten to the point where the futility on the power play is losing them games. I think we all remember how the Rangers failure on the power play was one of the biggest reasons for their quick second round exit against the Bruins last season. Unless the Blueshirts want a repeat, they need to figure this out and figure it out fast.