5 things to know about the New York Rangers this season

After an unprecedented run to the Eastern Conference finals last season, the Rangers have started 3-1-1 in its 2022 campaign.

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Max Von Hosen

The New York Rangers have had to a speedy start for their 2022-23 campaign with a 3-1-1 record. (Illustration by Max Von Hosen)

Avery Hendrick, Staff Writer

The New York Rangers are five games through the regular season, with a current record of 3-1-1 after an overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks on Oct. 20. While it is still early, there is plenty to be said on the Rangers season thus far. Here are five things to know about the team’s fast start.

1. Artemi Panarin has shined with his impressive scoring

Artemi Panarin has started his season with 11 points — three goals and eight assists in five games. It’s a career-best start for the left winger, who previously scored seven points in his first five games during the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Panarin’s current three goals all came at even strength, while he has five assists on the power play. 

Panarin set a career-high in points last season at 96, and seems well on his way to repeating that success. If he keeps up this pace, Panarin is set for a 180-point season, which would be the highest point total since the 1988-89 season, so expect him to slow down a bit.

2. Filip Chytil has shown promise at forward

One of the largest questions for the Rangers heading into this season was the performance of their young forwards, particularly Kaapo Kakko, Alexis Lafrenière and Filip Chytil. Kakko has scored only two points in five games, both being goals, while Lafrenière has three points — one goal and two assists.

The most impressive start comes from Chytil, with two goals and one assist in three games. It’s the best start of Chytil’s career, reaching a career-high 14 goals, and comes on the tail of an electric playoff run last season. His 22.2 shooting percentage this season is definitely unsustainable, but his season is off to a promising start. The Rangers will need this young talent to continue to perform if they want to return to the Eastern Conference final.

3. Igor Shesterkin’s inconsistent start is nothing to worry about

Igor Shesterkin was a god among mortal goalies last season. This year, the expectation is for Shesterkin to continue his ascent to the top of all-time greats while preserving the goalie dynasty in New York. His start to the season, however, has fallen a little flat of that expectation, with a .901 save percentage after four starts.

There’s no reason to worry about Shesterkin, though. Goalies generally start the season with weaker performances as they adjust to a new defensive system and teammates after the summer. Last year, Shesterkin had two sub-.900 nights in his first five games before posting a shutout in the sixth game. While two consecutive poor performances is unusual for the netminder, it’s nothing to worry about.

4. Vincent Trocheck has fit in well as a second-line hitter

Vincent Trocheck was the biggest signing the Rangers made this offseason after losing Andrew Copp, acquired as a rental just at the deadline, as their second-line center. Trocheck has slotted into second-line hitter alongside Artemi Panarin and Lafrenière, where he has had a great start, with six points — two goals and four assists — and won 51% of faceoffs. He looks like a good fit for the team, who has struggled to produce outside its second line over the past few years, and could elevate Lafrenière into a true top-six forward. 

A player like Trocheck brings a scoring touch to the second line, but there’s been a few defensive mistakes and turnovers to start the season. Trocheck’s game has been good enough so far to brush those mistakes aside — and for fans to relax a bit about his seven-year contract.

5. The Ranger’s Reverse Retro jerseys are much anticipated

The NHL’s second run of Reverse Retro jerseys — jerseys inspired by retro logos and team history — launched last week on Oct. 20. This year, the Rangers will be wearing a Statue of Liberty logo on a royal blue jersey for the limited collection. It’s a similar design to the 2020 run of Reverse Retro jerseys, but features the more traditional coloring.

The jerseys are available for purchase starting on Nov. 15 through the Madison Square Garden Team Stores, NHL and Adidas Hockey. The Rangers will wear the jerseys during eight games throughout the season, starting on Nov. 3 against the Boston Bruins.

Contact Avery Hendrick at [email protected]