The New York Rangers announced their third round of cuts this morning, and while most of the eight players cut will not come as a surprise, the fact that Tim Erixon has been cut is a bit shocking. The other seven players cut were Dylan McIlrath, Blake Parlett, Carl Hagelin, Ryan Bourque, Kris Newbury, John Mitchell, and Dale Weise. Of these six players, only McIlrath will return to the CHL (Moose Jaw Warriors), while the other seven will report to Hartford and the CT Whale.
The fact that Erixon was cut is very surprising, as most fans had him pegged for a roster spot, especially after the Traverse City tournament. He had a strong first preseason game, but has looked a little out of place in some of the other games. He did make some mistakes and seemed to force things a bit, but that’s not to worry. He will be able to work on these things in the AHL and he will likely be the first call in case of injury.
Hagelin, Newbury, and Weise are players that I expected to be cut, as they had been struggling to really perform well since the first preseason game. Many had Hagelin pegged for a roster spot as well, but it was clear he needs to work on some things before making it to the show. He has tremendous speed, but he needs to be more than a one trick pony, as I said in the Frolunda recap. Newbury was always AHL bound, as was Weise. There simply weren’t any roster spots for them.
That brings me to Bourque, who had a very good preseason, and jumped up the depth chart very quickly. He may not be the first NHL call up for injury (expect that to be Newbury), but he had a very impressive camp. He was a victim of the numbers game, but with at least three spots opening up next season, he will likely compete for one of those spots next year.
Back to Weise for a moment, I think that’s it for him in the Rangers organization. He was given a real look at camp, which is something we haven’t been able to definitely say in the past few years, but he just can’t crack this roster. He is now too far down on the depth chart to really have a shot at playing as a Ranger for an extended period of time. I have a feeling he will ask for a trade, much like Dane Byers did, so that he can get a shot elsewhere. It’s a shame too. I like the kid, he just has been squeezed out by a combination of talented prospects and talented NHL players.
Update 1pm: The players that need to clear waivers are John Mitchell, Kris Newbury, and Dale Weise. Newbury and Mitchell are confirmed on waivers, but it’s odd that Weise has not been waived yet.
The Rangers roster is now at 25 players, and they may, depending on injuries, need to make at least three more cuts before opening day. The remaining players on the roster:
Goal (3): Martin Biron, Henrik Lundqvist, Scott Stajcer
Defense (8): Brendan Bell, Stu Bickel, Michael Del Zotto, Steve Eminger, Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh, Michael Sauer, Marc Staal
Forward (14): Artem Anisimov, Sean Avery, Brian Boyle, Ryan Callahan, Erik Christensen, Brandon Dubinsky, Ruslan Fedotenko, Marian Gaborik, Brandon Prust, Brad Richards, Mike Rupp, Derek Stepan, Wojtek Wolski, Mats Zuccarello
Of these remaining players, only Scott Stajcer is the guaranteed cut. The defense may be set, as Marc Staal and Mike Sauer are currently injured. Expect Erik Christensen to be that final cut from the forwards, but him and Avery are fighting for that 13th forward spot.