After two games without spark-plug forward Carl Hagelin we may be starting to see some of the impact of his absence. Without the speedy wing, who has been a catalyst for the New York Rangers top line with Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik, the Blueshirts have seemingly been less effective of the forecheck, a strength that has predicated much of the Rangers' success this season.
In Hagelin's place the Rangers have dressed recently-signed rookie Chris Kreider and early on slotted him alongside Richards and Gaborik on the top line. So how has the rook measured up to the "veteran" Hagelin? Here's a look at their head-to-head production this series.
Hagelin vs. Kreider
ATOI: Avg. time on ice; SOG: Shots on goal; SCF/SCA: Scoring chances for/Against; G/A: Goals/Assists
Kreider may not have been quite the factor that Hagelin was in Games 1 and 2, but he also hasn't seen the same ice-time that Hagelin enjoyed, skating a scant 3:29 in Game 4. With that in mind, it's not quite accurate to say that Kreider has "replaced" Hagelin. Instead, Hagelin's minutes have been dispersed throughout the Ranger lineup, with Brandon Prust seeing a particularly significant spike in playing time, going from just over 8 minutes in Game 1 to a high of 17:11 in Game 4. So, how has Prust fared since Hagelin's suspension?
Brandon Prust vs. The Senators - 2012 Playoffs
ATOI: Avg. time on ice; SOG: Shots on goal; SCF/SCA: Scoring chances for/Against; PKSC: Scoring chances while on the PK; G/A: Goals/Assists
The biggest different is that while Hagelin was even in scoring chances for/against (again, thanks to the 6th Sens for the scoring chance data), Prust is in the red by more than a 2-to-1 margin (9 to 19). To be fair, some of those chances have come on the PK, as noted in the chart, but still it seems the Senators are seeing a decided advantage when Prust is on the ice.
Absent an offensive catalyst and with the Rangers seeing the ice sloped against them with Prust on the ice, it seems evident that Hagelin's suspension has definitely detracted from the Rangers' performance this series.