The New York Rangers have dropped the puck on the 2019-20 NHL season. At 2-4-0, the hot start has cooled off. They have lost four straight, with three of them coming this week. Here are the three stars of the week of Oct. 14 through Oct. 21.
First Star: Mika Zibanejad
If you have been following the first six games of the season, you have noticed the unbelievable performance by Mika Zibanejad. With four goals and seven assists for 11 points, he is the first star of the week for the Rangers.
He has been a leader for this team in the early going, and in all honesty, should be wearing a different letter on his chest. Zibanejad has been a key part of all of the Rangers’ success thus far, and it is more than just leading the team in points, shots on goal with 23, and having a great faceoff percentage of 53.1%. Those are all impressive, but he has also been a key member of the revamped power-play unit, as well as the penalty kill. He has had a spot in all situations of the game.
Many have speculated that this would be another career-year for the 26-year-old, and the future of this franchise really does run through him. Playing alongside Artemi Panarin and Chris Kreider is obviously an added boost to his game and is the reasoning behind his point production thus far.
This week could have gone better for the Rangers and Zibanejad, but he has shown to be a consistent player. With three assists in the three games this week, he has been a positive player in a very negative week.
Second Star: Jesper Fast
With two goals and an assist in the three games played this week, Jesper Fast earned the second star. He has shown a lot of heart in each of the games played and has helped the Rangers stay in it. He also showed why he has an “A” on his chest.
He may not be the flashiest of players, and certainly not the biggest, but Fast offers a lot for the Rangers. After appearing mostly on the third line with Ryan Strome and a combination of Brendan Lemieux, Brendan Smith, and Pavel Buchnevich, he made the most of his minutes. With two goals and two assists through six games, he is on pace for 55 points this season.
He has done a lot more than just score. With four blocks and seven hits, he has been seen all over the ice. Half of those blocks have come on the penalty kill. Fast has done so well, that he will now see some time on the first line with Zibanejad and Panarin.
Third Star: Jacob Trouba
The defensive core of the Rangers has been as much of a revolving door as the offensive lines. There has also been a lapse in improvement from the six defensemen through the three games this week, besides one. Jacob Trouba has been consistent all season long, and this week was no different.
With a pair of assists, Trouba has been a complete player for the Rangers on both ends. Defensively, he has thrown the body around to make 10 hits and added five blocked shots. Additionally, he has used his big frame to shield the puck off of forecheckers. He uses his awareness to make the smart pass and it has paid off for him and the team.
As the defense continues to fall apart, Trouba has played well above his teammates. He earned the third star of the week for having a complete two-way game, and for being on the ice more than any other skater. He has been on the ice for 78:17 out of a possible 180 minutes. Over the course of this week, he has been relied on the most.
I cover the New York Rangers. I graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelors Degree in Journalism.