Oscar Lindberg was announced as the 2015 Lars-Erik Sjoberg Award winner this year, awarded to the top rookie at camp in the preseason. The award hasn’t been awarded since 2010, when Derek Stepan won the award. Pretty safe to assume Lindberg has made the team. Above is Lindberg receiving the award from some unknown fan.
The Rangers are home tonight to take on the Bruins in their preseason finale. With at least two cuts looming, all four guys on the bubble are in the lineup looking to prove they belong. Ice time will paint a picture for us tonight, and a few Rangers from last year may find themselves on the wrong side of the ax.
As for the Bruins, well they had a weird offseason. I really don’t know how else to summarize it. Don Sweeney is either a genius or a fool, and there’s really no middle ground here. They aren’t dressing an NHL lineup tonight, but that’s what happens when both Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg are hurt.
What have they done lately?
The Rangers have released their roster for tomorrow’s preseason finale against the Bruins:
When the lineup for last night’s victory against the Flyers was released, there were a few questions regarding the choices Alain Vigneault made. The major questions were regarding the choice to sit both Tanner Glass and Kevin Klein, despite all signs pointing to the duo competing for roster spots.
Glass is competing with Jarret Stoll for a 4th line/13F spot on the roster. Stoll played last night on the fourth line with Dominic Moore, who will likely be on the fourth line as well. It makes sense that AV is trying to see who performs better in that specific role. That said, expect Glass to get into the lineup during tomorrow’s finale against Boston.
The Rangers showed some moxy last night, erasing a 2-0 lead in the third period on goals from Dan Girardi and Chris Kreider to force overtime. Then it was the Keith Yandle show, as he forced a turnover, turned that into a penalty shot, then scored on the penalty shot to give the Rangers a win. It was definitely a nice win, even if it was preseason.
- Dylan McIlrath is going to force a Kevin Klein trade at some point. I only caught the second half of the game, but what I saw was a poised defensemen who was calm with the puck. He’s not perfect, but he’s not the kid that runs everyone over and hangs his partner out to dry. If he can do what Klein does –I think he can do more– at less than half the cost, then it’s worth trading him for futures.
- Keith Yandle is really, really good.
- It was nice seeing the crowd that into it for a playoff game. Crowds like that all season long would be a refreshing change.
- Dan Girardi giveth, Dan Girardi taketh. Girardi did a nice job finding open space for the first goal, but he also lost Wayne Simmonds on Philly’s second goal. Worth noting that the goal came on a Jarret Stoll faceoff loss.
- Why is it important to note the faceoff loss? Because everyone seems to think Stoll is a god-send because of faceoffs. He loses some too, you know.
The rosters are taking shape, and the Rangers are down to their last few decisions to make. Dylan McIlrath and Jarret Stoll will get looks tonight in what could be their roles as regulars while Tanner Glass and Kevin Klein watch from above. It wouldn’t shock me to see Glass and Klein in for the preseason finale, as these four are in direct competition for those final spots.
As for the Flyers, they are also dressing a roster that resembles an NHL lineup. Their defense is highly questionable, but the duo of Giroux-Voracek is always dangerous. Steve Mason is pretty solid in net.
What have they done lately?
Over the weekend, the New York Rangers cut the roster to 25 players. In doing so, a lot of questions were answered about the makeup of the opening day roster. Brady Skjei will spend some time in Hartford. Brian Gibbons, despite his solid preseason, will also open the season in Hartford. The only apparent guarantee is that Jayson Megna gets cut, which means there are very few question marks remaining.
Two of the above three will make the team, but if Alain Vigneault has his way, all three will make the team. McIlrath has been a pleasant surprise this preseason, as it was do or die for the former first round pick. He has certainly out-performed Klein, whose contract may become a hindrance rather than a luxury. But the Rangers can fit all three under the salary cap, assuming other roster moves are made first.
Per Andrew Gross, the Rangers are scratching Oscar Lindberg, Tanner Glass, Jayson Megna, Raphael Diaz, and Kevin Klein tonight. The lines for tonight look like Alain Vigneault is doing some of his patented tinkering:
I find it interesting that McIlrath is getting a look alongside Yandle. There are two things that come to mind here. First is that if it works, is Kevin Klein’s future as a Ranger in jeopardy? Second is that if it works, will they look to rotate eight defensemen to get some of the older veterans some rest?
Through four preseason games, much ire has been directed at newly acquired forward Emerson Etem. The ire isn’t without reason, as Etem has underwhelmed thus far this September, but it comes with a little bit of bias. The Rangers were forced to trade fan favorite Carl Hagelin to Anaheim for Etem for salary cap purposes. Etem is making $850,500 this year. Hagelin signed a four-year, $16 million deal with Anaheim. Money was the sole purpose for this trade.
But the trade has been made, and the Rangers have a former first round pick on their team. Etem was taken 29th overall in 2010, and while draft pedigree might not matter five years later, the skill that made him a first round pick does not fade. The skill is clearly there, and we’ve seen flashes of it. Etem needs to put it all together. The Rangers will be patient while giving him every opportunity to succeed.