It has been a constant struggle for the New York Rangers to get consistent play out of their center iceman. They have had five players play center this season and only have 21 goals to show for it. Brad Richards has almost half of that number with nine goals. Derek Stepan, Brian Boyle, Dominic Moore and Derick Brassard are the team’s No. 2 and No. 3 centers and have to play better.
Stepan has been really quiet as of late. The last time has only scored one goal since November 7. During that stretch, he has only posted 10 points. It has been an absolutely miserable stretch for Stepan. He did not get a full training camp in because of his lengthy contract dispute with Glen Sather. Stepan was also fighting for a spot on team USA in the Olympics this February but he might be playing himself off of the team with his play of late.
Brassard was expected to be a huge player for this team. People thought since Alain Vigneault preaches more offense he would thrive in this new system. If you remember, Brassard was the best player down the stretch and in the playoffs. But this season, he has been struggling mightily. Brassard also hasn’t scored since November 23. Since that date he has only had five points. Brassard must start playing better or he might find himself on the fourth line or being a healthy scratch.
Both Boyle and Moore aren’t known for being goal scorers but they still must contribute. Boyle has been playing the wing a decent amount this year but wherever he plays he can’t finish. He only has one goal this season. Moore is more of a defensive forward but he has chances and can’t finish either.
In order to be good in the NHL, you must have good center ice play. The Rangers have had weak play at center recently and it is no surprise that they are struggling because of it.