Archive for Lineup Changes
The Rangers practiced with a new set of lines today, as they adjust to life without Mats Zuccarello. As expect, St. Louis moves up to the first line, with Fast moving to the third line and Sheppard coming to the fourth line:
There were adjusted powerplay units as well:
Hunwick was in for Yandle, who will practice tomorrow.
On paper, the Rangers are still a scary team with some solid depth. However, that injury to Zuccarello still hurts.
Rick Nash was named the Rangers team MVP and Player’s Player Award winner this morning. Nash has 42 goals and 27 assists (69 points) in 79 games thus far this season. He almost single-handedly carried the offense while the rest of the lines were being finalized.
Alain Vigneault is shuffling the lines a bit for tomorrow’s showdown with the Islanders, and will be dressing Tanner Glass on the fourth line over James Sheppard. Sheppard had been used with Dominic Moore and Jesper Fast as the 4LW, providing some much needed defensive stability to a fourth line that really needed a defensively solid LW.
It is likely that AV is worried about Matt Martin running around, and the potential need to drop the gloves. But honestly, you can’t’ hit what you can’t catch, and Martin can’t skate. Let him run around and try to hit someone. He will miss, and the Rangers will take advantage.
Per Rick Carpiniello, the newly acquired James Sheppard will skate on the fourth line with Dominic Moore and Jesper Fast. None of the top-nine forwards were touched, meaning Tanner Glass, despite improved play, will be the healthy scratch heading into tomorrow’s game in Detroit. The lines:
There are zero holes in those four lines. That is what we call depth, and the ability to roll all four lines.
*due to the large percentage of the BSB staff who were physically at the Canucks game, Dave’s goal breakdown will be posted this afternoon.
The entirety of the Rangers’ community held their collective breath during the announcement that franchise goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was experiencing continued symptoms from his fluke neck injury. It was a strange coalescence of events that ended in a vascular injury and an uncertain timetable for his return. In his stead, it was a no-brainer to turn to Cam Talbot. What was somewhat surprising was that 20-year old MacKenzie Skapski got the nod to play second string for the big club.
That’s not a knock on Skapski, mind you, who has been playing very solid hockey in his first pro-season in the AHL. After eight games without Lundqvist, Skapski is still yet to start a game (however rumored to be starting tonight in Buffalo). Since Lundqvist’s injury is relatively rare in hockey, his timetable and confidence is his overall health going forward somewhat suspect. All of this begs the question of whether the Rangers would be wise to bring in some additional goaltending depth prior to the deadline. With this in mind, I thought I’d break down some low-cost candidates who could be waived if need be in the event Hank comes back strong and ready to go for the stretch run.
MacKenzie Skapski, New York Rangers:
Let’s start with the obvious. The Rangers could simply give Skapski a try and see if he can handle the speed of the NHL game. I admittedly haven’t seen much of him, but the little I have watched shows a quick, athletic tender, with a tendency to get too busy in his movements and can overplay his positioning. Beniot Allaire is a master at quieting a goaltender’s motions (see Talbot, Cam), so I think this possibility is worth a shot. Better than Skapski riding the bench until Hank returns.
Yann Danis, Hartford Wolfpack:
Alternatively, the Rangers could swap Skapski for career journeyman Yann Danis. The 33-year old Quebec native has seen NHL action for the Habs, Islanders, Devils and Oilers over the course of his career, posting decent numbers in small samples. Something tells me he would make it through waivers on his way back down, and I would much rather see him decorating the bench at MSG and letting Skapski play in Hartford in the Rangers don’t see playing time in MacKenzie’s short-term future.
Anders Lindback, Buffalo Sabres: (1 year/$925k, pending UFA)
Just a couple years back I was a big fan of Lindback. He was a big goalie who had played well in limited time behind Pekka Rinne and looked to break out as a starter with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Instead, Lindback tanked and another massive goalie in Ben Bishop stole the crease in Florida. His large frame has gotten away from him and his mechanics have gotten all out of whack. He is as dispensable as it gets, though, turning UFA after the season.
Scott Clemmensen, Albany Devils: (1 year/$600k, pending UFA)
We’ve all seen plenty of Clemmensen over the years, both with New Jersey and Florida. He is about as vanilla as a backup goalie gets, but we can be confident in his competency for a few games at a time. The bigger question is whether Sather and Lou could get together for a trade even of this microscopic magnitude.
Reto Berra, Colorado Avalanche: (2 years/$2.9m remaining)
Two years and almost $3 million left on his deal. Pass.
Mike McKenna, Arizona Coyotes: (1 year/$550k, pending UFA)
Another career journeyman and pending UFA. McKenna has bounced around with the Lightning, Devils and Blue Jackets before landing in the desert. For what it’s worth, he has better AHL numbers than Danis does, but that’s hardly a conclusive argument for going out and getting him. Plus, it’s not like the ‘Yotes have goalie depth to spare at this point. McKenna is not likely worth the hassle for an incremental upgrade on what the Rangers already have.
Richard Bachman/Viktor Fasth, Edmonton Oilers (1 year/$615k, pending UFA/1 year/$3.4m cap hit remaining)
Bachman is another McKenna-type. Pending UFA on a small deal, but since they are overflowing with mediocre goaltenders in Edmonton, maybe this makes a little more sense. Fasth on the other hand has another year on his deal at a $3.4m cap hit. Yuck.
Jason LaBarbera, Norfolk Admirals (1 year/$750k, pending UFA)
When I first looked up old friend Jason LaBarbera, I was almost positive he was a free agent. Apparently the Ducks snuck him down to Norfolk, where he has very solid numbers in twenty games. Might be worth a flier, but not much of a huge upgrade to be had here. If he was a UFA, I’d say grab him and let him play a few games to rest Talbot, but he’s not exactly an ideal trade target.
As you can see, the pickings are slim. I don’t suppose you can really seek a meaningful upgrade when Lundqvist will hopefully be back in the next couple weeks, but depth is never a bad thing. Personally, I would soldier on with out internal options, whether that is Danis or Skapski. If I had to go outside the organization, I think Clemmensen is your best bet, but good luck with that. Moral of the story: get well soon, Hank.
In a move to hopefully get the most out of his powerplay, Alain Vigneault made some changes to the two units, swapping Dan Boyle and Ryan McDonagh at the point, and Mats Zuccarello and Martin St. Louis as a forward. Both Boyle and MSL have been struggling mightily, and it was time to change things up. The units:
Per Steve Zipay, the Rangers are shuffling their lineup after last night’s loss to the Isles, and J.T. Miller will be a healthy scratch along with Matt Hunwick. Lee Stempniak and John Moore will be back in the lineup. Tanner Glass will still be playing because he “played physically last 3 games, element that team needs.” The lines:
I don’t really understand Hayes on the fourth line, but I’m not the coach.
Per Brett Cyrgalis, Derek Stepan was not on the ice for practice and is not expected to play tomorrow in Boston. Tanner Glass, a healthy scratch for the last six games, was skating on the fourth line, which was one of three new lines:
The top line remained unchanged, but the other three had changes. I’m not sure why Moore is now on the third line, but that Glass-Hayes-Fast line could be problematic. Moore is probably the best bet to manage Glass on the ice.
Also, Nash was named an alternate captain for the All Star Game this year, much deserved.
Per the Rangers Twitter, defenseman John Moore will return to the lineup in place of Matt Hunwick. Moore, who has yet to score a goal and has just three assists this season, has been a healthy scratch for the Rangers last two games.
Henrik Lundqvist will get the start in net tonight.
Per Steve Zipay, Jesper Fast will be the healthy scratch tonight for the Rangers as they take on Dallas. J.T. Miller will be re-inserted back into the lineup. For some reason, Tanner Glass is still playing. It’s not like Dallas is incredibly skilled, fast, and high scoring or anything like that.
The defense will remain the same, and Henrik Lundqvist will be in net.