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.
Some quick practice notes this morning, aside from the end of John Moore’s suspension. First, Cam Talbot was not at practice, and there is no update on his status. Talbot suffered from an undisclosed injury in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals, and has been day-to-day since. Also, J.T. Miller, who hurt his shoulder in the Eastern Conference Finals, is good to go. Miller likely won’t get action unless there is an injury, but he adds some decent depth in that scenario. Both of these bits come from Andrew Gross.
Per Katie Strang, Cam Talbot sat out for a second straight practice with an undisclosed injury. This is relatively minor in the grand scheme of things, because Talbot and/or LeNeveu would only see ice time if Hank gets hurt, forgets how to play goalie, or goes nuts and disappears to Africa to hang with Dave Chappelle. I asked Jim Cerny if Talbot made the trip, to which he responded yes.
Per Pat Leonard, Derek Stepan indeed traveled with the team to Montreal for Game Five tonight. Alain Vigneault noted that Stepan will get a look in the morning skate before he makes his decision on inserting him into the lineup. As expected, Stepan will wear full face protection (cage) if he plays.
Also, Oscar Lindberg traveled with the team to Montreal. per Arpon Basu. The highly touted prospect has yet to play an NHL game, but played a very strong campaign in the AHL, his first in North America, putting up a line of 18-26-44 in 75 games. It’s safe to assume that if Stepan cannot go, then it will be between Lindberg and Jesper Fast for the fourth line spot. J.T. Miller, who played in that spot in Game Four, played just three minutes before being cross-checked into the goal post (no penalty was called). He did not return to the game.
Miller did not travel to Montreal.
Alain Vigneault announced yesterday that J.T. Miller would be returning to the lineup, probably in light of the Dan Carcillo suspension. Some doubt may have been cast when Derick Brassard announced he would be returning tonight, but now with the confirmed news that Derek Stepan will be out with his broken jaw (not surprising, despite what Doctors Gallagher and Briere say), it is certain that Miller will play tonight.
No lines have been announced, but my guess is that Brassard skates on the top line with Rick Nash and Chris Kreider. Dominic Moore would slide into the third line with Mats Zuccarllo and Benoit Pouliot, and Miller would play on the fourth line with Derek Dorsett and Brian Boyle.
According to the internet, Derick Brassard will be back in the lineup tomorrow. Although, Katie Strang tweeted the following quote from AV, “He didn’t tell me. That’s good news.” Either way, expect Brass back in the lineup.
Stepan is likely out after having surgery on his broken jaw on Friday due to the illegal hit he suffered from Brandon Prust. Prust received a 2 game suspension. Yeah…