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Rangers Mailbag, Part 2: Vincent Troshek’s Fears, Gorton/J.D.’s Alternate Universe and more

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We answered some still relevant notice questions in The first part of our mailbag Last week — if you’ll recall, we put out a call for questions on December 5, a day before our current seven-game winning streak kicked off — and there’s still more to answer. On to the second part!

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Can you sum up Trochick’s performance so far? There appears to be a growing disdain for him among the Rangers media and fans alike. However, I do see a competent two-way center with a nose to the net and an ability to score yet… all while adjusting to a new team and fellow musical chairs. Will this always be judged based on his relationship with the Breadman? I’m not overdoing it, just confused. – Tom S.

Trocheck is heralded: a hard-nosed player with a fair amount of skill, a guy who can win face-offs, kill shootouts, fit into the top power-playing unit and be a pain in the ass.

These were known. The big unknown was whether he could communicate with him Artemy Panarin And so far, the answer is kind of — but it also wasn’t very significant, as we saw with the new second line, Trocheck was centered at the heart of that current run.

Panarin has cruised between three finishes this season, the bulk of his 5v5 time with Trocheck — just shy of 300 minutes together, according to Natural Stat Trick — with a 106:03 (and counting) combined Mika Zibanejad and 75:10 with Philip Shettle.

Panarin was the same as usual with all of them. It looked worse with Trocheck because they were underwater on the actual targets, but their shooting share was an impressive 57.1%. They were primarily together during the aftermath of Troshek’s heavy blow, so luck wasn’t on their side.

Now, Gerard Gallant has gone with Panarin-Zibanejad-Barclay Goodrowwhich worked well in Philly and less so in Chicago, while the real revelation is Chris Kreider-check-Jimmy Veese Line. It will be interesting to see how Gallant posts that streak on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh. They were a decent shutout line at times and also could score goals from transition plays.

But no matter how long Trochick’s deal is, there’s nothing to bother with him yet.

Every time I saw Johnny Brudzinski With the big team that I admire. What am I missing? – Jay B.

As the fourth line positions go, he’s eminently fit. He fell out of the AHL’s understanding of what he needed to do to get around him: play fast, play physical and get off the ice.

It may have taken a while NHL assessors to understand what he can and cannot do at this level. He’s a consistent scorer in the AHL – a one-point man for Hartford in parts of three seasons there – so maybe there’s an expectation for him to do the same here that he hasn’t translated into in his eight pro seasons.

But he brings more speed than Ryan Carpenter and lines up with it Julien Gauthier This fourth line gives a healthier look than it did at the start of the season. With the Rangers now fit up front, Brodzinski is the right choice.

Can he bear it is the question to be asked next. This was a problem for him. But this team has a lot of goalscorers and seems to know its role, so it has to stick around for a while.

How do players feel about their captain? It doesn’t seem like a particularly united team. – Chris R.

Now in fairness to Chris, this was from two weeks back. You don’t want to pin all seven wins in this streak on Troopa blowing up against the Falcons at MSG back on December 4, but it certainly delivered the right message from the right guy.

When I heard (and wrote) last year that Trouba was really the captain’s only choice, there was some skepticism from commentators who felt either others would be better choices or that Trouba’s albatross necklace would hinder his wearing. C for many years.

Even the few of us who go to the locker room a lot don’t know much about what’s going on or how men fit in the hierarchy of leadership. But few players and staff have said during my time covering the team that no one does the little things—check on teammates, provide lines of communication to coaches and the front office about concerns or speak up—than Truba did.

Few gamers crave this kind of responsibility. Most of them like it when they have one, two, or three players go to the coach with an issue or stand in front of reporters to respond to a bad game or say the tough things to say during a losing streak.

Trocheck has done a decent job of speaking and being a captain in his senior season. Panarin has made some strides in this field. Kreider is a likable teammate but he doesn’t want to be in the spotlight all the time. Zibanejad is likely the captain’s second choice, and his voice, while quiet, carries a long way there.

But no one who has been there in the past few years says that anyone other than Trouba is the real leader in the room. I go over what my current and former colleagues are saying. Other than his injury and some really ugly games on the ice this season at times, Trouba is the man. They all wanted it to be that way.

Paint us an alternate historical picture: Where do you think this team would be now if the JD/Gorton regime hadn’t ended so quickly? – Sam B.

This is a good idea. I think at least Vitaly Kravtsov She will have a bigger role now and Pavel Bukhnevich Trade may have fallen completely differently, or not at all.

I don’t think Barclay Goudreau is a keeper now either.

The bigger question is whether David Quinn will remain behind the bench. Absolutely yes to the start of last season. If they have anywhere near the success they had in 2021-22 without him, Quinn will still be around for the time being.

Now, whether Gorton will be just as aggressive at the trade deadline last season is really hard – probably not, given his patient attitude throughout the rebuilding period. He may have chosen to see if the group could succeed without outside help.

I still think last season’s success would have been achieved no matter who was in charge. Igor ShesterkinAn amazing season wasn’t built on anything other than Shesterkin himself, so perhaps even with Quinn remaining behind the bench in place of Gallant, it could have happened.

But I think any misstep in the last year or more could have caused unhappiness on the owner’s wing, so Chris Drury could have been installed almost anytime. It is interesting to see where Drury would have gone with his coaching choice had he come at a different time than he did 18 months ago.

Outside of Mika, is there anyone else whose shot other teams should fear? Do they take more shots by design or did the rest of the league decide that if we took away all the beautiful passes we might give up more shots, but the quality would drop dramatically? – Anthony F.

Just as a direct comparison through the same dates from last season and this season on Clear Sight Hockey, here’s a breakdown of the scoring opportunity and projected goal totals:

2021-22: 746 chances to score, 96 expected goals and 79 goals

2022-23: 993 chances, 121 x G, 103 goals

The current team is simply better at generating scoring chances, both good and not so good, than last season’s. So I think it’s really about looking for shots while also looking for better shots at the moment.

These Sentinels present a much deeper threat, which is probably responsible for the dramatic improvement. The power play is still good. Even in his powers, Chytil is a variable player. So is Kakko. Trocheck is a downhill player while Ryan Strom was less. Gauthier’s relentless attack a few weeks ago is still more than anything the fourth line gave the team last season.

Candy Miller You have taken a major offensive step. Adam Fox He returned to Norris Cup level.

In short, this team is a good offensive team. Power-play big-timer Zibanejad is the team’s best shot, but beautiful passes mean something, too.

(Photo: Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports)

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