Of all the guys on the New York roster, Barlcay Goodrow had one of the longest and most winding ways to get here. Before breaking into the professional ranks, Goodrow had had three consecutive years from 2011-2013. Attend Probability Camps with Carolina HurricanesAnd the Los Angeles KingsAnd the Detroit Red Wings After each of those three drafts, he was unable to secure an NHL contract and ended up spending a total of five seasons in the OHL.
After signing with San Jose Sharks In early 2014, he spent his first three seasons jumping up and down between the NHL and AHL, playing 77 NHL and 148 AHL before finally making the NHL in 2017-18. Goodrow joined Tampa Bay Lightning at Deadline Trade 2020 before the COVID-19 halt, and was a member of their back-to-back tournaments.
Before the free agency opened, Rangers traded what ended up being the 223rd pick for the 2022 entry draft into the negotiating rights for Lightning for Goodrow. Chris Drury made it clear That Goodrow was a player targeted by the Blueshirts long before free agency, and struck a six-year deal worth just under $22 million for Goodrow. Upon signing this deal, early expectations looked very bleak:
Boxcar stats: 79 GP, 13 G, 20 A, 116 SOG, 16:42 TOI/GP, 69 PIM, -5 differential kicks, +10 goal difference on ice
Analytical scales 5 out of 5: 1.44 points/60, -3.74 % relative CF, -4.90% relative SF, 7.19 % relative GF, -3.93 % relative GF, -1.41 relative SCF, 104.2 % relative on ice PDO, 2.7 GAR
Playoff stats: 1 point, 15:00 TOI/GP, -10.30 CF %, -14.90 % xGF %, -2 target differential on ice
Upon arriving in New York, Goodrow was expected to bring some items to the table. When Rangers chose not to name a captain for the fourth consecutive season, Goudreau ended up as one of six players selected as the replacement captain at the conclusion of training camp. Goodrow was the only player on the roster with championship pedigree, but even with that experience, the appointment of a replacement captain came as a shock to many.
As for his contributions on the ice, Goodrow’s reputation has been that of a versatile striker and defensively responsible. He can align on the wing or center and can play anywhere in the squad. His skill set should have been put to better use in a first defense role in the sixth round, but Goudreau has had time up and down Gerrard Galant’s squad all season. Reputation might lead one to believe that Goudreau became a defensive specialist, but the numbers behind Goudreau’s play say just the opposite:
There is some interesting information to gather when looking at the Goodrow season. Despite being in the red across the board in terms of shooting and scoring opportunity-based metrics relative to his teammates, Goodrow was one of the team’s top drivers in goal difference on the ice. His 5-5 goal difference and goal ratio were both of the top five in the squad among the players who spent most of the season with Rangers.
Outsmarting shot and chance based metrics is usually a trend seen in players with some sort of elite puck skill, whether it’s passing or shooting, but that can’t be said for Goodrow. The other five Rangers strikers positively affected the team’s goal differential (Panarin, Kaku, Strom, Zipanegad, and Krider) also positively on shot and chances differentials. Goudreau sticks out like a sore thumb here.
Goodrow spent most of his time with Lightning in their third streak, and if you ask a Rangers fan what role he’s played for them this season, they’ll likely tell you that he was a Jack of all professions who spent most of his time in the bottom half of the lineup. Contrary to that notion, Goodrow finished fifth in time on the ice for both 5-on-5 and all-season positions.
While trade deadline additions for Andrew Cope and Frank Vatrano pushed Goudreau into the lower sixth round, the continued streak in play in the early parts of the season resulted in Goudreau skating more minutes than the majority of the New York forwards. One of the issues that plagued me until the deadline was the team’s rotten depth. Goodrow can be a useful player under certain circumstances, but a team that primarily skates second-line minutes is not a team that will be very successful.
This issue was addressed by the time the playoffs began, with Goudreau finding himself in the fourth grade skating alongside Kevin Rooney and Ryan Reeves in Game One against Pittsburgh. During the second period of that match, Goudreau broke his foot blocking the shot and would be forced out of the squad for the remainder of the opening round series. Goudreau ended up missing 11 games before returning for Game 6 of the second round against Carolina, and once again found himself in the fourth streak combination alongside Reeves and Tyler Mott.
For a player brought in in part because of his playoff experience, missing more than half of the playoffs and being ineffective the rest of the time wasn’t ideal. Goudreau missed three weeks with an injury and was definitely under 100% on his return to the squad, so busting him in nine sub-par matches isn’t a particularly productive exercise in this case.
Ranking a player in Goodrow conditions can be difficult. It’s not his fault that Rangers signed him to a contract that pays him far more than he’s worth, so balancing how he ranks in relation to his salary against what one should reasonably expect of him is difficult. Goudreau is not the first in-depth player in a Stanley Cup Champion for immediate cash and reduced performance for his new contract, and it won’t be the last.
New York is already in the midst of a major crisis. Larry Brooks has floated The idea of the team moving from Goodrow after the 2022-23 campaign with a handful of its young players on the verge of getting new contracts. Goodrow can be a quality depth piece for a winning hockey team. His place in the teams that have at least reached the conference finals in each of the last four seasons is indicative.
Unfortunately, high quality depth cuts can be found at a much cheaper price than what Rangers pay Goodrow. Shrewd salary cap management is the name of the game due to the financial havoc that the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked in the NHL. Goodrow will need to bring more to the table moving forward as the Blueshirts look to build on their success from last season. If he couldn’t, he wouldn’t stay around much longer.