Rangers Need Goodrow to Step up This Season

The New York Rangers signed Barclay Goodrow to a six-year contract one year ago and he had an encouraging first season with them. The gritty forward played well at both ends of the ice and helped New York make a run to the Eastern Conference Final.

Unfortunately, the Rangers have lost a lot of their key forwards who helped them make their deep postseason run, including Andrew Copp, Ryan Strome, Frank Vatrano, and Kevin Rooney. Tyler Motte is also an unrestricted free agent and New York may end up losing him too. Those losses will make Goodrow an even more important player this season and the Rangers will need him to step up.

Goodrow’s Play Last Season

The Rangers decided to give Goodrow a long-term contract because of his grit and strong defensive play, even though he never produced much offensively. He helped improve the team’s penalty kill last season and proved to be a player that head coach Gerard Gallant could trust in all situations. He blocked shots, played with physicality, and forechecked effectively on the fourth line.

Barclay Goodrow New York Rangers
Barclay Goodrow played well for the New York Rangers last season (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Additionally, Goodrow chipped in offensively and provided some secondary scoring on the fourth line and the second power-play unit, as he repeatedly got to the front of the net, screening goalies and getting deflections on goal. He also showed a knack for scoring clutch goals late in games including a late game-winner against the Ottawa Senators in October and a late game-tying goal against the Los Angeles Kings in January.

Goodrow also ended up spending some time on the Rangers’ second line due to injuries and he played well before going back to the fourth line. He finished the season with a career-high 13 goals and 20 assists.

Related: Rangers’ Barclay Goodrow Proving to Be a Perfect Fit

Though a fractured ankle hampered Goodrow in the postseason, he showed a lot of heart and continued to play hard, kill penalties and block shots. He had only one point in nine playoff games but he still contributed defensively and helped the team.

The Rangers Need a Strong 2022-23 Season From Goodrow

One of the keys to the Rangers’ success last season was their excellent power play and strong penalty kill. Goodrow played a major role in their penalty kill and he also spent time on the second power-play unit. Now that penalty-killers Copp, Strome, Rooney (and possibly Motte) won’t be returning to the team next season, there will be additional pressure on New York’s returning penalty killers.

Additionally, the Rangers will look to get some offensive contributions from Goodrow both at even strength and on the power play. His ability to win battles in front of the net gave New York some much-needed secondary scoring last season and they will rely on him to do the same this season.

Barclay Goodrow, New York Rangers
Barclay Goodrow provided some secondary scoring for the New York Rangers last season (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The Rangers’ lack of forward depth also means that while it’s ideal for Goodrow to play on the fourth line as he has thrived in that role, he may have to spend some time as a top-six forward if there are injuries or if some of New York’s skilled young forwards struggle.

Last season, Goodrow spent some time playing with star winger Artemi Panarin and center Strome on the team’s second line. His aggressive forechecking and strong defensive play helped the line continue generating scoring chances even though he is not known for his offensive production. The Rangers will need him to continue to provide the same spark and versatility regardless of his linemates this season.

For the Rangers and Goodrow Moving Forward

Last season the Rangers made the playoffs for the first time since 2017, and now they need to avoid regressing this season. While New York’s star players including Panarin, Igor Shesterkin, Adam Fox, Chris Kreider, and Mika Zibanejad are all returning, they did lose a lot of important role players who helped the team last season.

Lack of forward depth could become an issue for the Rangers, which makes it even more important for their role players to step up this season. Goodrow proved to be a valuable role player no matter which linemates he played with and he contributed to the penalty kill and power play too.

The Rangers will need Goodrow to step up this season and build off of his performance last season just as this young team looks to make the postseason and build off of their postseason run to the Eastern Conference Final.

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