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Roster moves coming? Maybe not

Such a skinny kid, Moore was. (Photo: Dave Sandford/NHLI)

Such a skinny kid, Moore was. (Photo: Dave Sandford/NHLI)

In case you missed it the other day, Dominic Moore –out with an oblique injury– has stated he expects to return to the lineup on Saturday. Moore has been out since October 29, missing seven games in that time. Without him, the Rangers have used a combination of J.T. Miller and Brandon Mashinter to fill the hole in the lineup.

When Moore returns the Rangers will need to sit a player, and there are really only three candidates to sit right now: Miller, Mashinter, and Benoit Pouliot. Miller barely played in the Rangers 3-2 loss to New Jersey (5 minutes), but still managed to play more than Mashinter (3 minutes). Pouliot has been the topic of debate lately due to inconsistent play. A case can be made for any of the three to sit or be demoted.

But it’s not just Moore whose return is imminent. Rick Nash has been skating at practice –albeit with a yellow non-contact jersey– and he is no longer an unknown. He should be returning within a few weeks (I’m optimistic). Right now the only real unknown is Taylor Pyatt, who hasn’t been seen since his concussion.

With Moore coming back first and the Rangers set to play a few games against some smaller teams (Boston being the exception here), a safe assumption is that Mashinter is the first casualty from the lineup. Simply put: He isn’t getting minutes. The interesting thing here is that his numbers (51.9% CF%, -5.7% CF% rel, 28.6% OZ starts) are actually better than Miller’s (47.5% CF%, -7.4% CF% rel, 31.9% OZ starts). But a roster casualty doesn’t necessarily mean a demotion to the AHL.

While roster moves are the first thing our minds run to when players return to injury, New York is not in a position where they need to make a move. They don’t need the cap space at the moment (no one was on LTIR), so they don’t need to demote someone. They don’t have a spare forward at the moment, and they are about to hit a five game road trip at the end of the month. Even when Nash returns, the team may still need to keep a 14th forward (13th is a given) until after the game in Buffalo on December 5.

An important thing to keep in mind is that Moore was never placed on IR (unless I missed something). The team does not need to demote a player when he comes back. Ditto Pyatt. In fact, only Nash is on IR at the moment. When he returns the Rangers –currently carrying 24 players (Nash on IR makes it 23)– can do one of two things: 1) Demote a player, or 2) Move Pyatt to IR. We don’t know Pyatt’s time table, but if he’s hurt long term, it’s unlikely the Rangers would eliminate flexibility when they can just file paperwork to create an extra roster spot.

Although we are getting hopeful signs that players are returning from injury, the Rangers don’t necessarily need to make any roster moves to make room for the returning players. It’s a luxury and a flexibility that few teams have. It will sure be nice to see a fully healthy Rangers team in the near future.

18 Responses to “Roster moves coming? Maybe not”

  1. Walt says:

    If we can carry all the current players, and have D Moore back as well, this would be the ideal time for Pouliot to get pine splinters in his butt!!!!

    Look, he really hasn’t played up to expectations, and to me has been a major disapointment. Maybe if he sits out a few games, we may light a fire under his seat, and he starts to play up to the level we think he can!!

  2. Mikeyyy says:

    10 game conditioning stint for pouliot in the ahl should be fire enough.

  3. SalMerc says:

    D.Moore adds depth to the PK. Out of the 3, only Pouliot sees any time there. He needs to sit. Mash and JT could be/should be next.

  4. AD says:

    AV sticking with Pyatt and Pouliot, yet not giving Miller the same leeway to develop/prove himself is clearest statement yet he is not a coach comfortable with developing/transitioning prospects into the starting lineup.

    I don’t view Dominic Moore’s performance prior to injury as all that good either.

    So far, at this early point in the season, AV gets no better than a “C” or “C+” in terms of personnel management….just not a fan.

    • Spozo says:

      Isn’t Kreider walking (skating) proof that you can’t force feed rookies minutes and expect immediate success?

      Why does everyone have to use Pyatt and Miller in the same argument. Miller obviously isn’t ready. If Pyatt was not on this team does that mean Miller would be succeeding? No. He would still be a rookie that hasn’t gained his coaches trust.

      • Bob says:

        Agreed. This is no different than people who complained about the old regime’s handling of Miller and Kreider’s icetime last year. When you’re not ready, you’re not ready. There’s no need for finger pointing.

    • Dave says:

      So he gets a C because he doesn’t play kids that aren’t ready? This isn’t Edmonton.

      • AD says:

        No Dave, those words are your own spin on what I said.

        He gets a “C” or “C+” because, for one reason, he demonstrates an extraordinary amount of patience with players such as Pouliot and Pyatt getting 1st through 3rd line minutes during most of their starts; whereas with Kreider, initiialy, it seemed like it was either top line performance, or nothing and, with Miller, it seems like it is only 4th line minutes. Pouliot and Pyatt have not shown anything more than 4th line quality all season.

        Another reason for AV’s grade, in my view, is his inability to transition as a new coach quicker; he calls up Powe for PK minutes but then doesn’t put him on the PK for that one game, only to send him back down; that’s just been one example of many subtle miscues by the coach. I would suggest he has mismanaged Brassard as well.

        You are correct, this isn’t Edmonton.

        I hope this is clear for you now.

        • Dave says:

          Kreider wasn’t ready in the beginning of the year, and Miller still isn’t ready. Have to earn your ice time. Didn’t we learn anything from last season?

          Transition as a new coach quicker? It hasn’t even been 20 games yet, a number that we’ve been preaching here since day one. You don’t know what you have until 20 games in.

          As for Pyatt, well, we agree. Pouliot, see 20 game rule, although he’s been less of a factor than I expected so far.

          • AD says:

            Kreider should have started on 3rd line at beginning of year; it isn’t common to be 1st line, all or none, then go to AHL and then back to 1st line. I think he would have progressed just as well, if not better, being on the 3rd line.

            Why do you give Pyatt and Pouliot a 20 game rule with 1st through 3rd line minutes, but not for Miller? Like AV, I think that shows a different standard, which is the entire point about AV’s prospect personnel decisions.

            Finally, giving a professional head coach 25% of the season to figure out his team is ridiculous. But, hey, this is the NY Rangers we are talking about where mediocrity seems acceptable at the GM level, and amongst some fans.

            Like I said, AV gets a “C” or “C+” grade, so far, in my view. Not sure what grade you would assign to a coach of a .500 club.

        • Mikeyyy says:

          It’s funny because he gets an a from me for doing those same exact things. It worked for kreider.

      • Mark says:

        At this point Pouliot should sit. When Nash returns, It can be argued that Mashinter will sit. However, he should not sit against Boston. We just cannot have players running around giving out concussions. I recall Brashear running everyone one night until Shanahan had to fight him. You cannot have (even in this day and age) a guy like Dorsett be your tough guy. He is not Domi after all and Mashinter just needs a little more time and confidence and he will be all right.

        • Fotiu is God says:

          Hallelujah. Praise Mark.

          Remember the swagger we had in what few games Ryan Clowe saw with us before being concussed?

          Granted, Mashinter doesn’t have Clowe’s skillset or rep. Inasmuch he’s not a liability. Give him a reasonable amount of shifts.

          • Erixon20 says:

            I’d like to see more of Mash. It looked to me like he can skate a little and goes to the front of the net. He must be really bad in his own end. But 3 mins/game is a waste of a roster spot unless he were a true enforcer, which he is not. He HAS to be in the lineup vs the Bs. And I agree with putting Pouliot in the stands for a game or two…worked for Zucc.

  5. becky says:

    TBT Dom Moore

  6. Craig says:

    Give Mash more time in games. He is an enforcer who hasn’t hurt the team when he plays. I think he has more skill then given credit for and needs ice time to develop. Dominic Moore has some penalty killing skill, but is a soft player (Ranger tradition) and hasn’t really shown much this year when healthy

  7. SalMerc says:

    Mash, Pouliot, JT and D.Moore are no more than role players at this point. Their minutes are to serve a purpose, like PK or giving the first 2 lines a break or changing things up by throwing their body around. If they succeed at those roles, they will get minutes, but never 12 mins a game.