Per Steve Zipay, coach Alain Vigneault noted that injured center Derek Stepan, who fractured his fibula in training camp, has seen no setbacks and will be all good to come off LTIR next week. Stepan is first eligible to come off LTIR on 11/3, and it appears he will be good to go at some point that week. I wouldn’t expect him to be good for the 11/3 game against St. Louis, but maybe Wednesday against Detroit at home or Saturday in Toronto.
Forget Mike Kostka. The one-game experiment with the 28-year-old defender notwithstanding, the Rangers’ depth has been extremely impressive so far this season.
It hasn’t been easy.
Poor planning down the middle during the summer forced first Martin St. Louis and now Kevin Hayes into unnatural positions, but both players have done well learning on the fly. The center problem has been felt most at the faceoff dots, but that’s never been Stepan’s hallmark anyway. And though Stepan’s myriad of contributions obviously can’t be replaced, the absence of the No. 1 center has done nothing to affect the team’s primary scorers on the wing. Rick Nash is off to an unreal start, and rotating top-liners St. Louis and Chris Kreider have found the scoresheet early and often even without No. 21. Stepan has been missed more in the defensive end, but the entire team has been awful in its own zone thus far, so the subs would be hard to fault for that.
After last night’s game, both Dan Girardi and Kevin Klein were both in need of stitches. Girardi took a shot off the ankle that needed to be stitched up, and Klein took a puck to the chin. Klein returned to the ice today for practice, while Girardi did not. Girardi is day-to-day, and there’s a chance he could miss tomorrow’s game against the New Jersey Devils. However, Girardi is made from robot parts, so I expect him to play.
Despite earlier reports that Tanner Glass may be out with a back injury, he will be in the lineup tonight against the shorthanded Columbus Blue Jackets. Jesper Fast, who blocked a shot awkwardly on Thursday, is also in the lineup. Both of these reports are per Andrew Gross. Cam Talbot gets the start.
Also, Matt Lombardi cleared unconditional waivers, and the Rangers will terminate his contract. This will give the Rangers much needed flexibility in the trade market.
Per Steve Zipay, winger Tanner Glass will be a game time decision with a back issue. Kevin Hayes, who is expected to be medically cleared to play, would replace Glass in the lineup.
If Hayes is cleared to play, the Rangers would need to send a contract to the AHL, as they would be over the 23 man max.
Also, Jesper Fast skated today after awkwardly blocking a shot. He’s not expected to miss any time.
Three cuts were made yesterday, as Matt Lombardi, Steve Kampfer, and Mike Kostka were all placed on waivers. There are more cuts coming today, as Alain Vigneault will need to trim the roster to 22-23 players. That number may or may not include Derek Stepan, who is out with a broken fibula.
There are two options for the Rangers with Stepan. They can put him on IR (out at least a week) and open up a roster spot, which is the very least they will do. They can also put him on LTIR, which means he will need to miss at least ten games or three weeks (whichever comes first). LTIR gives the Rangers cap flexibility, as they can go over the cap ceiling by the same amount of Stepan’s cap hit. This allows them to keep an extra skater.
That’s apparently what AV is looking to do, per Pat Leonard.
Just some quick injury updates:
- Dan Girardi (multiple maintenance days in a row)- skated in NY, still day-to-day
- Ryan Malone (hip flexor) – same as Girardi, skated in NY, still day-to-day
- Matt Lombardi (groin) – did not skate today
- Derek Stepan (broken fibula) – Evan Sporer conducted a Q&A with an orthopedist, who noted the injury will keep Stepan out at least 4 weeks
Update 1pm: Stepan has a fractured left fibula, and a timetable for his return is unknown.
Original Post: Derek Stepan was helped off the ice during conditioning drills today, clutching his left leg in pain. This is unrelated to Stepan missing a day due to a bruised foot, and it is a giant red flag when a player goes down without contact. According to Larry Brooks, he simply fell to the ice.
Obviously this is a cause for concern. More to come.
Today was breakup day for the Rangers, and there were some interesting quotes from some of the players, and not all were good.
Anton Stralman said that his family and security are his primary concerns, per Seth Rothman. That sounds like someone who is looking for a big deal, and it may not come from the Rangers. As for Brian Boyle, Rothman also quoted Boyle saying he would like more responsibility. Boyle’s role with the Rangers will continue to be the same, if he stays. Losing one or both of these guys would be a big blow to the Rangers.
Per Larry Brooks, Cam Talbot suffered a broken hand during warmups of Game Six against Montreal. Talbot, who relieved Hank in Game Five of the same series, did not participate in warmups or practices following the Eastern Conference Final. There were rumors that he was hurt during Game Five, which wouldn’t have been surprising considering it was his first action in two months. It is assumed he will be good to go by next season.
One final note: Thomas Spelling, the Rangers 5th round pick in 2012, is now an unrestricted free agent. The Rangers decided to pass on signing him by the June 1 deadline. This isn’t really surprising news, as he bounced around the Euro leagues following his draft year.