New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault decided to roll seven defensemen last night against the Calgary Flames. This shows how little faith he has in his forward depth right now. That said, Vigneault basically played four defensemen for the majority of the second and third periods.
Vigneault decided to scratch Taylor Pyatt and Arron Asham, electing to keep Dylan McIlrath in the lineup. He brought Justin Falk back to the lineup to be the seventh defenseman. But, this move was basically useless as the game went on. Ryan McDonagh logged an astounding 31:01 of ice time and Dan Girardi was second with 25:30. McDonagh played more than half of the third period and the overtime period.
It is clear the Rangers have a serious lack of depth at the forward position, but dressing seven defensemen is just useless. Players need to find a certain flow during a hockey game, and it is hard to do that when you are getting skipped over every other shift. McIlrath has a long way to go as a player, but brings toughness to the Rangers’ lineup.
If anyone should be sitting, it will be Falk or John Moore. Moore has been struggling big-time lately and has lost a lot of confidence. Falk really doesn’t contribute much offensively and is very slow.
Clearly, the Rangers have some problems with depth at forward and on defense, but Vigneault and the Rangers can’t roll seven defensemen when the offense is struggling so much. I expect Vigneault to sit either Moore or Falk for their next game.