EDMONTON, Alberta — Artemi Panarin stated he didn’t really feel something on his stick when the Rangers scored the third objective of their 6-4 win over the Canucks on Wednesday night time in Vancouver.
The shot from the purpose got here from newly acquired defenseman Niko Mikkola, whom Panarin pointed at instantly because the puck soared previous rookie goalie Arturs Silovs and to the again of the web. The rating was at first credited to Mikkola, however later was modified to present Panarin his sixth objective prior to now two video games. Whereas it’s most likely too late for a scoring change now, Mikkola’s capacity to precisely put the puck on internet continues to be encouraging.
The 6-foot-4, 209-pound Mikkola wasn’t introduced in to contribute on offense, however it could be an added bonus.
After the Rangers acquired 4 factors from defensemen Wednesday night time, the membership’s D corps has now posted a complete of 138 factors this season, which is the second most within the NHL behind solely the Sharks’ 141. Between Adam Fox, Okay’Andre Miller and typically Jacob Trouba, the Rangers have sufficient offense-minded blueliners.
What the Rangers want is one other stay-at-home defenseman who is aware of when to choose his spots in becoming a member of the frenzy.
“[Mikkola’s] an actual good shutdown defenseman,” Rangers president and common supervisor Chris Drury stated after buying Mikkola, together with Vladimir Tarasenko, from the Blues on Feb. 9. “Clearly, he’s obtained dimension and attain, like Okay’Andre [Miller] does. Lot of fine studies on him. We’ve accomplished our homework and be ok with including him to our D core. For the primary time, too, it offers us a Finn for [Kaapo] Kakko to hold with, which is nice.”
Since Mikkola joined the Rangers, he and Kakko have principally been connected on the hip. Kakko stated the 26-year-old has been capable of flip to him for even the smallest issues, comparable to contacting him on FaceTime when he doesn’t know what to put on. That has been a serious profit for each Finns.
Head coach Gerard Gallant has proven a desire for greater, stronger defensemen. After alternating firstly of the season between Libor Hajek and Zac Jones, who’re each now at AHL Hartford, the Rangers introduced up 6-6, 231-pound Ben Harpur from the Wolf Pack.
Harpur turned knowledgeable tryout with the Wolf Pack right into a two-year extension with the Rangers and skated in 21 straight video games subsequent to Braden Schneider. For the reason that commerce for Mikkola, nevertheless, Harpur has been relegated to the seventh-defenseman position.
“Niko is a giant, bodily defenseman,” Gallant stated final week. “It’s a man we’ve all the time appreciated after we watched him play after we discuss defensemen.”