The New York Rangers‘ goal-scoring woes are not for a lack of trying. The key word here is “try,” because trying simply is not cutting it.
The Rangers got their best scorer, Rick Nash, back from injury last week. In his first four games, his team has only lit the lamp six times. In last night’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Rangers peppered Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop with shot after shot, but simply could not finish. Credit is due to Bishop for a spectacular performance, but at what point do you stop crediting the goaltender and begin finding fault with the players?
One of the main reasons the Rangers hired coach Alain Vigneault is because he demands offense out of his players. They currently rank 28th in the NHL in goals scored at 2.0 per game. Is this Vigneault’s fault? The team’s scoring woes go back many years prior to this one. The offense struggled under Tom Renney and it struggled under John Tortorella. Now, with an offensive-minded coach, the struggles continue. The truth is there is a personnel problem.
General manager Glen Sather has consistently failed to assemble a balanced roster of grinders and finishers. On the current roster, it seems as if Nash is the only player capable of scoring. In past years, the same could be said of Jaromir Jagr or Marian Gaborik. As the Rangers have very little cap space, Sather may not financially be able to upgrade the roster with the amount of scorers needed to push the Rangers to an elite level. That falls on Sather too.
To blame coaching for the Rangers’ scoring woes is wrong. Vigneault and his staff have preached shooting the puck since day one, and it shows in the team’s effort. However, the roster constructed as a whole simply does not have the scoring touch the elite teams of the league do. That is a management problem.