Grabner scored a goal and logged 10:40 of ice time during Tuesday's 5-4 overtime loss to Pittsburgh. This was just the first goal and second point of the campaign for Grabner. The veteran speedster is being utilized in a depth role and has averaged only 13:23 of ice time without any power-play time. Grabner posted a career-high 16.7 shooting percentage during last season's 27-goal, 40-point showing, so it will probably be difficult to duplicate his 2016-17 numbers.
Grabner is among the Rangers left unprotected heading into Wednesday's expansion draft, the New York Daily News reports. He's one of the likeliest names to be plucked off Broadway by the Golden Knights, but it wouldn't be surprising to see them take fellow (and younger) forward Oscar Lindberg instead. Grabner's coming off a hugely successful first season with the Rangers, but he's basically a one-dimensional player, and that dimension is speed -- if he had the hands to finish on more of the breakaway chances he got this past season, he might have scored 40 goals instead of 27.
Grabner tallied 27 goals and 40 points along with a career-best plus-22 rating over 76 games in 2016-17. Grabner seemed like a natural fit for the Rangers' speed-based game when they picked him up last offseason, and all those goals -- many of which he scored on breakaways -- made him an impressive bargain signing. This season was reminiscent of his 2010 campaign with the Islanders, when he racked up 34 goals and 52 points, but it's well worth noting that Grabner's production fell off a cliff for years thereafter. Indeed, he's far from guaranteed to repeat this past season's production in 2017-18, but the Austrian will remain a key third-line piece for the Blueshirts regardless.
Grabner roped in a primary assist Thursday, contributing to a 4-1 home win over the Senators for Game 4. The Austrian with tremendous front-line speed set up Oscar Lindberg on an odd-man rush, which is a classic example of how Grabner garners most of his points these days. After tailing off precipitously during the conference quarterfinals, the 29-year-old winger has notched two goals and an assist over the last three games. With the series tied 2-2 but the momentum in favor of the Blueshirts, Grabner seems poised to keep the good times rolling.
Grabner has been held off the scoresheet for six consecutive games spanning two full weeks. He's gone minus-5 in that span, but the Austrian winger has at least put 12 shots on goal. As a guy whose offensive output is almost entirely contingent on him getting (and converting on) breakaways, he's predictably inconsistent. That said, he's just three goals away from hitting 30 for the second time in his career, so look for Grabner to make a push in that interest over the Rangers' remaining games.
Rank Among Leaders
Last 7 Games
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