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Grabner finding his form with New York Rangers

Grabner has 10 goals in just 16 games this season.

Michael Grabner (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Michael Grabner (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Michael Grabner has been hot to start the season for the New York Rangers. In 34 games during the 2014-15 season with the New York Islanders Grabner scored eight goals. In 80 games played for the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2015-16 Grabner scored only nine goals.  In only 16 games for the Rangers this season Grabner has scored 10 goals and notched three assists.

Grabner’s torrid start makes him just the second Ranger since the 1990-91 season to scored nine even strength goals in the first 16 games of the season. The other one is another Ranger finding his second wind, assistant Captain Rick Nash.

Averaging nearly a point per game, Grabner has rediscovered his form in front of goal that made him so successful for the Islanders between 2010 and 2012 where he scored 64 goals over the course of those two seasons.

It’s something of a renaissance for Grabner who, after his two goals helped contribute to a Rangers win in Edmonton Sunday night, said “I’m just trying to go out there and play my role. It’s just been going good from the start, from the first game on. I think that’s a big part of hockey, when you get confidence, it seems to be going out there and not thinking and good things happen.”

Grabner’s role has certainly been increasing little by little and it took a big bump on Sunday when he replaced an injured Chris Kreider on the top line. Responding with two goals including a goal in the opening two minutes will only continue to see his role expand.

The offseason move to bring Grabner in was the perfect coupling of two struggling entities that needed a little change in scenery. For Grabner it was a return to the state where he had his most success in the NHL and for the Rangers it was part of a rebranding and rebuilding process that has now helped propel both to the top of the Metropolitan Division standings.

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