Alain Vigneault’s New York Rangers Or John Tortorella’s Vancouver Canucks?
Alain Vigneault's New York Rangers Or John Tortorella's Vancouver Canucks?
They engaged in a trade of sorts. No, not the typical trade of a player for a player, or players for players, but instead, a head coach for a head coach.
It was not an official trade, however, but it just seemed as such, since right after Alain Vigneault was fired from the Canucks, the Rangers fired John Tortorella a week later. Then, all of a sudden, both coaches were prime candidates to take over each other's previous job. And wouldn't you know it, it actually happened.
Vigneault became the new head coach for the Rangers and Tortorella became the new head coach for the Canucks. To make things even better, the Rangers played the Canucks in a preseason game Thursday night, and will play each other twice in the regular season this year.
Regardless of the outcome of Thursday night's preseason game, which was the Canucks over the Rangers by a hefty 5-0 score, this slideshow will show you a comparison of both teams, looking at offense, defense, goaltending and special teams, and at the end will be the ultimate decision of which coach got the better end of the coaching swap, in my opinion.
Will it be Vigneault and his up-tempo offensive style of play with the Rangers, or Tortorella and his conservative style of play with the Canucks? The only way to find out is to continue reading. I hope you enjoy.
Believe it or not, the Rangers actually scored four more goals than the Canucks last season.
However, when it comes to goal scoring, really the only pure scorer the Rangers have on their roster is the guy you see in the picture above, Rick Nash.
The Canucks have the Sedin twins, both Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin, who usually rack up the points, but both had off years last season and most definitely will rebound.
If you go through both teams' rosters, you will see the distribution of goals among players on the roster greatly favors the Canucks, but with Tortorella's conservative system, will those goal numbers go down? On the other hand, will the number of goals for the Rangers increase due to Vigneault's offensive system? If you go by Thursday night's preseason game, that would be a no, but you never know what can happen in the regular season.
Because the Canucks have better goal distribution and more primary and secondary scorers than the Rangers, plus the fact that the Sedin twins had an off year last season, my vote for better offense goes to Tortorella's Canucks.
Winner: Tortorella's Canucks
Both the Rangers and Canucks are strong defensively. The Rangers gave up the third least amount of goals last season, with 112. While the Canucks were in the middle of the pack in the Western Conference, allowing 121 goals, you also have to factor in the Canucks' goaltender debacle from last season. Regardless, Marc Staal and Ryan McDonagh are better defensemen than any defender on the Canucks' roster, in my opinion.
The offensive upside of the defenseman greatly favor the Canucks. The Rangers' defenseman last year totaled 16 goals, while the Canucks totaled 28. You might think goal scoring from your defenseman is not a big deal, but now-a-days it is. In today's NHL, it is a must for your defenseman to join in the play and score goals.
So, you can say it was Vigneault's system that propelled the Canucks' defensive scoring last season, and vice versa with Tortorella and the Rangers. However, if this preseason dictates anything, the Canucks' defensemen still put up more goals, even under Tortorella, than the Rangers with Vigneault.
While goal scoring for defensemen sides with the Canucks, I still think the Rangers' defenseman are better defensively, which I think results in a tie.
This one is a no brainer.
Henrik Lundqvist is arguably the best goalie in the league, despite his performance in Thursday's preseason game, since it is only preseason. Every season, Lundqvist is near the top in wins, goals against average, and save percentage, while Roberto Luongo's has drastically dropped ever since the Canucks last Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011.
Last year proved exactly what I mentioned above. Lundqvist was No. 1 in wins, No. 6 in goals against average, and No. 5 in save percentage, while Luongo is nowhere to be found on any of those lists. The reason for that is because he has been so bad the past few years that he even lost his starting job to Cory Schneider, who the Canucks strangely traded to the New Jersey Devils this offseason, making Luongo the starter again by default.
There should be no question on which coach wins this battle.
Winner: Alain Vigneault's Rangers
This will be painful.
Both teams last year were below the league average in power play goals. While the average was 29, the Rangers only had 24, while the Canucks fared a little better with 26 (a ghastly less than 16 percent for each team). The funny thing is that one of the reasons the Rangers brought in Vigneault was to improve the Rangers' powerplay, yet last year was just as bad as the Rangers. It really looks bleak that either team's powerplay will be significantly improved this upcoming season.
Now, on the penalty kill, something I found shocking, the Rangers, who have prided themselves of their penalty the last few seasons, were actually ranked below the league average in penalty kill percentage last year. The average percentage last season on the penalty kill was 81.78, and the Rangers fell just short of that number with 81.08. The Canucks, however, goaltender situation and all, finished last season above the penalty kill average with 84.02, and now with Tortorella as their new head coach. The Canucks' penalty killing should be even better, while the Rangers should see some improvement as well, given that the Canucks were great on the penalty kill last season under Vigneault.
However, since the Canucks finished higher in both aspects of special teams...
Winner: John Tortorella's Canucks
Which Coach Gets Better End Of Swap?
So, according to my analysis in the previous slides, the winner of this coaching swap for now goes to John Tortorella, as he looks to be laughing at the Rangers' powerplay from Thursday's game in the picture above.
However, anything can happen in the regular season, so we just do not know what the futures for these two coaches will hold.
Can the Rangers thrive under Vigneault's new system? Will the lineup dramatically improve with Derek Stepan, Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin? Maybe.
Can Tortorella get in the heads of the Canucks and make them play defense first, causing their goal scoring to decrease as a result of it? Maybe.
The bottom line is that this slideshow was just a preview, and an opinion, and once the regular season starts, all of this can change. As of right now, Tortorella is the early winner/favorite from benefiting from this offseason coaching swap.
Winner: John Tortorella's Canucks