Between his end-of-season setbacks by the hands of the New York Islanders and the incident of Tom Wilson in opposition to the Washington Capitals, the Rangers entered the 2021 offseason eager to be more durable to face. The evening of the 2012 combat in opposition to the New Jersey Devils noticed the staff freeze three enforcers in Stu Bickel, Brandon Prust and Mike Rupp to start out that sport and ship a message. On the evening of the 2021 combat in opposition to Washington, he noticed the roles of Bickel, Prust and Rupp performed by Colin Blackwell, Phil Di Giuseppe and Kevin Rooney. Brendan Smith, Anthony Bitetto and Ryan Strome received concerned within the fights quickly after, however nobody would seek advice from any of these six gamers as enforcers.
An indignant letter worded and two firings later, Chris Drury was the principle resolution maker on Broadway and made it clear that the Blueshirts can be a more durable bunch the next season. In trade for what ended up being the ninety fifth choose within the 2022 Entry Draft, Drury acquired Ryan Reaves from Las Vegas Golden Knights on July 29, and added an extra yr to Reaves’ contract earlier than he dressed for the staff.
Reunited along with his former Las Vegas coach in Gerard Gallant, Reaves discovered himself within the lineup most of the time. Though he sat out a wholesome scratch for the final two video games of the season, Reaves was an everyday presence within the fourth row. So how did he fare on that line?
Wagon stats: 69 GP, 5 W, 8 A, 44 SOG, 10:38 TOI/GP, 43 PIM, -9 Penalty Differential, -14 Aim Differential On Ice
5 vs. 5 analytic metrics: 1.00 Factors/60, -10.57% Relative CF, -11.04% Relative SF, -17.10% Relative GF, -11.46% Relative GF Anticipated, -8.14% Relative SCF, 98, 8 PDO on ice, -5.9 GAR
Playoff Stats: 0pts, 9:25 TOI/GP, -3.89% Relative CF, 0.60% Relative xGF, -1 Aim Differential On Ice
Except for Julien Gauthier, no different Ranger who completed the season on the NHL roster skated fewer minutes per sport than Reaves. Being employed to discourage different groups, Reaves solely took off his gloves and fought thrice this season. Colorado’s Kurtis MacDermid, Tampa Bay’s Patrick Maroon and Montreal’s Michael Pezzetta have been his opponents, with the lean in opposition to Maroon serving as a preview of these two going through off in opposition to one another throughout the Jap Convention Finals.
There weren’t quite a lot of nights to face out from a manufacturing standpoint. Reaves could not discover the again of the web till January 20, although he did rating his first and second targets as a Ranger that evening:
Except for that evening, Reaves was usually an enormous drag on the Blueshirts’ efficiency on the ice. Taking a look at shot makes an attempt, photographs on objective, anticipated targets and principally each shot and chance-related stat, Reaves was at or close to the underside of each metric on the ice. Within the ones the place he wasn’t final, he was usually joined by Kevin Rooney and Greg McKegg, who’re now not on the staff.
There is no stat that makes Reaves seem to be an enormous contributor to New York’s success this season. The Rangers have been outscored 30-16 on even phrases with Reaves on the ice, and that minus-14 objective distinction was the worst on the staff. The Blueshirts’ ahead depth was their obvious weak spot throughout the first three-quarters of the season earlier than the commerce deadline, and being outscored almost 2:1 each time Reaves was on the ice was an enormous a part of that. of that downside.
One stat that properly highlights Reaves’ total shortcomings is Evolving Hockey’s Targets Above Substitute mannequin. GAR (and its conversions W(ins)AR and S(tandings)P(oints)AR) are cumulative stats that incorporate even energy play, particular groups play, and penalty hits. Of the 427 forwards who skated at the least 350 minutes this season, Reaves was one among solely 11 to be far sufficient within the crimson on GAR to account for at the least -1 WAR. That is regardless of the principally zero time on particular groups, which different unhealthy gamers in your neighborhood get and provides them extra alternatives to be unhealthy.
Stripping out the particular groups element of GAR and WAR, solely 5 different gamers have been heavy sufficient even with energy to account for -1 WAR. Being the perfect chirper on the staff and throwing them onto the ice for video games are good issues to chortle about every now and then, however when having that requires freezing a participant in dialog for the worst skater within the league, one thing has to present.
When the playoffs got here round, Reaves spent much more time watching video games from the sidelines than ordinary. No ahead skated lower than the 9:25 per sport Reaves did within the playoffs. After 4 notably robust video games in opposition to the Lightning within the Jap Convention Finals. Reaves spent the final two video games of the New York season within the press field. For all of the questions surrounding Kaapo Kakko’s future following the wholesome scratch from him late within the season, Reaves’ roster spot for the 2022-23 marketing campaign seems to be closed even amid the continued wage disaster. of the Blueshirts.
Just like Alain Vigneault’s affinity for Tanner Glass from their time in Vancouver, Reaves clearly endeared himself to Gerard Gallant throughout their time collectively in Las Vegas, and that helped carry him to New York. The period of the enforcer has come and gone at this level, however Reaves is among the final of a dying breed of NHL gamers. His first season in New York was what the residents of Rangerstown anticipated him to be. Let’s hope that the second season of him shall be a nice shock.