Prior to the 2021-2022 season, the New York Rangers sought after solving one missing team staple- grit. This is exactly why general manager Chris Drury had his eye on Barclay Goodrow and signed the recent back-to-back Stanley Cup Champion to a lengthy six-year contract priced at a $3,416,667 annual average per year.
The tough forward is at the forefront of the team’s depth and key with generating offensive chances. The 28-year-old has collected 10 goals and 10 assists thus far with the Rangers. He’s already surpassed his career-high (eight goals) in scoring at only about the halfway point, though his career-high 24 points is likely going to be broken this season with his new team.
Though Goodrow, much like his teammate, Ryan Reaves, was not signed for point production, his current numbers are a welcomed addition to his relentless style of play. In his ninth season, his versatility was not always blatantly obvious.
His journey to the Big Apple began when the San Jose Sharks signed him as an undrafted player. He spent his career on the west coast up and down between the NHL and the American Hockey League (AHL). He spent his entire last season up with the Sharks before his trade to the Tampa Bay Lightning. A couple of clutch opportunities and Goodrow helped send the Lightning to their first of two Cups in the 2019-20 season.
The Lightning have a keen eye for gauging a player’s future potential, even if he seemed years away from reaching it. Goodrow was certainly a depth factor that rolled the team towards victory twice. Although his time in Tampa helped set him up to be widely praised for his well-rounded style, his performance undoubtedly transferred over to New York, just as Drury knew it would.
Could Goodrow See More Line Promotions in 2021-22?
When Goodrow is able to chip in with scoring, they tend to be clutch goals, too. He already has two game-winning goals on the season, with his career-high being three back in his last season with the Sharks. The Toronto-native has also collected two shorthanded points, one goal and one assist, which is also his most in any season. With him, it is more about when the goals are scored rather than how many – and that is not something that can be taught.
At the moment, his shooting percentage is the highest it has even been, but he is not seeing as much success in the faceoff dot. Still, he is winning exactly half of his draws. He is also an excellent penalty killer, helping the Rangers stay steady as one of the top 10 best penalty-killing teams. Though the bottom-six player is obviously performing well where he is, coach Gerard Gallant is famous for switching up lines.
The good news is the Rangers are in an excellent position to entertain a coach with an experimental mindset. Gallant saw plenty of Goodrow back in the day when Gallant was the coach of the Vegas Golden Knights. His ability to play in most situations was likely unnoticeable by Gallant and other teams’ staffs, even from behind the other bench.
Goodrow has slid around in the lineup before due to injuries and absences, but the forward could be bumped up purely by performance-based merit. Though he is an essential depth player, he’s produced in his promotion as well — he’s racked up three goals when he played in the top-six.
Reaves, in a similar boat, recently jumped from his bottom-six role to the top line for last Tuesday’s match against the Florida Panthers. He played beside Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad, where he fit in very well. Just like Reaves, it is possible Goodrow could get a random promotion.
When asked about his motive for the sudden change, Gallant reasoned, “a little message to their top players. That’s all… when they see him faced across from them… just a little message… I wasn’t sending him out there to do anything like that…” he said with a smile.
Whether or not Gallant moves Goodrow around again, his reliability will still be intact no matter where he is in the lineup. His efforts never go unnoticed by his teammates either, his work ethic shaped his versatile capabilities. Which is also something of an example for his younger teammates.
Zibanejad had nothing but praise for his teammate, “He’s lived up to every expectation. To get to know him as a guy, too, he’s very humble and just really does everything for the team. You can tell the way he plays – sometimes on the wing and sometimes at center – it doesn’t matter what line he plays on. He does his job, and I think he’s just an all-around unbelievable pro. You can tell, and I think that guys notice that” as per Vince Mercogliano. (from ‘NY Rangers projected lineup: Barclay Goodrow’s impact shouldn’t be discounted’, Lohud Sports, 2/1/22)
The Rangers are set to resume Feb. 15 against the Boston Bruins after the All-Star pause. With a decent chunk of the season lying ahead of the team, Goodrow is in great shape to break several other career records and help push him team towards contending for the Stanley Cup with his key performances.
Rachel is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh. She can be followed on Twitter @RachelNHL.