Rangers fans experienced regular frustration at the hands (or lack there of) of Ryan Strome last season. They also enjoyed a fair amount of incredible plays made between Strome and Artemi Panarin. The moniker “bread and butter” became a fitting sentiment for the duo when they were at their best. Strome has left town, however, and he will suit up at MSG in different colors for the first time this coming Monday. While Strome was practically hated by some fans, there’s no denying that when he missed significant time last year, the Rangers struggled to win games, and that if they are to replicate last years success, a similar chemistry must be found between Artemi Panarin and the new number sixteen in New York, Vinny Trocheck.
Now don’t go accusing me of giving up on the new duo already, and I certainly believe that both players are talented enough to figure eachother out chemistry wise eventually, however the pre season performance of the second line left much to be desired in every exhibition except for one, and their five on five play looked pretty much the same in game one of the regular season, a 3-1 win over the reigning eastern conference champions, Tampa Bay Lightning. My question is how long can Gallant let this line meddle while the others are producing up to expectations? If there is a change to be made, what would it be? I’ve always been a proponent of giving Filip Chytil, an offensively gifted center that’s also from Eastern Europe, an extended look on the Panarin line. As much as I respect Trocheck’s offensive abilities, a part of me believes he would thrive most in a checking role with a talented third line that would still allow him to flex his offensive muscles.
This is just a thought exercise, ultimately. I still have faith in the new second line, (hopefully Kravtsov recovers quickly from the upper body injury sustained in last nights contest and starts living up to his potential as a top six talent) If you’re like me, you just have to wonder what would happen if the Panarin line never quite got going, and the rest of the offensive units get figured out by opposing teams.
Overall I’m thrilled with the product the Rangers iced last night in their home opener, and I can’t wait to keep this season rolling. I just wanted to quickly get this observation out into the world on a busy Wednesday morning, and frankly, if Panarin and Trocheck stay together all year, we’re going to have to come up with a new nickname for the pair. Tweet me your suggestions @ schindler62 on the bird app. Have a good rest of the week, and enjoy the Thursday night action at 8:00 pm in Minnesota, Rangers fans.