The Rangers resume play tonight with a record of 25-20-5 and are in 9th place in the East, 1 points out of the final playoff spot behind Philly.
The Rangers are 4-6 in their last 10 and have a goal differential of just +2.
The Rangers next have games against Toronto, Nashville, Dallas, Boston, Calgary, Winnipeg, Minnesota and the Islanders before playing a team with fewer points, Ottawa on 2/17.
The Rangers, according to Sports Club Stats, have a 52.3% chance of making the playoffs.
Alain Vigneault said that he only views between 3 and 5 teams as being in a "comfortable" position and noted that it's going to be a battle down the stretch.
He noted that in years past the number to get into the playoffs is around 96 points and expects that to be the same for this season.
Sports Club Stats says that records down the stretch of:
- 18-11-3 =94 points would give the Rangers a 95.4% chance of making the playoffs
- 18-10-4 =95 points would give the Rangers a 98.4% chance of making the playoffs
- 19-10-3 =96 points would give the Rangers a 98.6% chance of making the playoffs
- 19-9-4 =97 points would give the Rangers a 99.9% chance of making the playoffs
Reports have indicated that the Rangers are going to sell at the trade deadline and possibly move players like Rick Nash, Michael Grabner, Ryan McDonagh and/or Mats Zuccarello in an effort to rebuild.
Adam Rotter: I think the understanding from management and the coaches is that this is a talented but flawed Rangers team that, on paper and if healthy, should be able to compete in the playoffs. The reality is that the Rangers are without two of their top players and many of their healthy top players are not playing up to their potential.
Unless something dramatic happens in the next 2-3 weeks and the Rangers figure out how to shore up their defense, continue to get good goaltending and then a number of forwards all the sudden cash in on their All-Star potential, I'd expect them to sell off most of their pending UFAs and make a push for the playoffs with the remaining players.
You'd hope that if the Rangers were to sell Grabner and Nash and still make the playoffs it would be because of more than just Henrik Lundqvist and that we would see marked progress/consistency from Jimmy Vesey, JT Miller, Pavel Buchnevich, Mika Zibanejad and Kevin Hayes. That Brady Skjei would continue to evolve and that Brendan Smith would start to resemble the player the Rangers thought they were extending. Ultimately if the Rangers want to make the playoffs, the players that were supposed to carry them there, the ones above, need to do that. If they don't, then for the second time in Henrik Lundqvist's career the Rangers likely won't make the playoffs.