Lindy Ruff joined the Rangers prior to the 2017-2018 season. In the time that Ruff has been with the Rangers, we’ve seen three blue liners either traded or bought out by the Blueshirts: Ryan McDonagh, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Neal Pionk. Every single one of them, at least partly, succeeded away from the Rangers.
Starting with Ryan McDonagh, the first to depart via trade, his first full season away from the Rangers and Ruff saw him put up a 50.06 CF% and 52.60 xGF%. Those numbers were up significantly from his last season with the Rangers, where he was a sub-50% in both stats. Now of course quality of team plays a role here, and if it were just McDonagh then it would be easy to overlook. After all, that 2017-2018 Tampa team was solid.
Neal Pionk, the second player to be traded, was visibly and statistically awful with the Rangers. He could move the puck, but when it came to defensive zone coverage he was a nightmare. We can all agree there. Yet this year with Winnipeg, playing top pair minutes, Pionk is putting up a 52.30 CF% and a 46.54 xGF%. While the expected goals is still awful, a sign that he is still struggling with limiting quality shots, the quantity of shots he is allowing is down significantly.