What more can happen to the Rangers blue line? Marc Staal hasn’t played all year because of a concussion. Mike Sauer is out definitely because of a concussion. There was a makeshift bottom pairing that consisted of any combination of Steve Eminger, Jeff Woywitka, and Anton Stralman before the Sauer injury. Since the Sauer injury, Eminger was forced into top four duties, and played well. Now he is out, and the future of Woywitka is unknown since he is banged up.
Let’s assume Woywitka can go on Tuesday. After all, he is a hockey player. That leaves the Rangers in need of another defenseman. The smart money would be on Tim Erixon being called up, but he comes with a $1.75 million cap hit. With Mike Rupp activated, the Rangers don’t have room to carry that cap hit without making another roster move to clear some cap space. Since Sean Avery carries the biggest cap hit among those not playing regularly, it’s safe to assume that if Erixon is called up, then Avery will indeed be waived.
Another option is to call up Brendan Bell, who has NHL experience, but he would need to clear re-entry waivers prior to joining the club. It is unlikely someone would claim him, but the Rangers might not want to take that chance. If it is Bell that is called up, then placing Eminger on LTIR should clear enough cap space to make room for Bell.
The Rangers thin blue line just got a lot thinner. With the Christmas roster freeze a day away, the Rangers need to make their moves quickly.