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Category: Preseason

Poll: what to do with Cam Talbot

Cam Talbot has been an interesting story since joining the Rangers in Marty Biron’s stead at the beginning of last season. An undrafted free agent who blew the lid off his ceiling and went on to have a mini-breakout season as Henrik Lundqvist’s backup. He put up tremendous numbers (12-6-1, 1.64 GAA, .941 sv%), and by virtue of his age, can become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this coming season.

Now, this puts the club in something of a pickle. He has an incredibly small sample size of games to judge his true talent level. What complicates things further is that most goalies of NHL caliber talent can put up quality numbers in a small set of games. What makes a starter is the ability to hold up that level of play over a fairly grueling 55-65 game sample. We have no idea if Talbot is up to that task, and unless something goes catastrophically wrong, we’re unlikely to find out this season. Read more »

Rangers announce final cuts

Jesper Fast and J.T. Miller made the roster, while Chris Kreider, Oscar Lindberg and Marek Hrivik were assigned to Hartford

The Rangers announced their final roster cuts this morning, assigning Chris Kreider, Oscar Lindberg, Marek Hrivik, Darroll Powe, Brandon Mashinter, Stu Bickel and Conor Allen to the Hartford Wolfpack.  Powe, Mashinter and Bickel must all clear waivers.

The following players made the opening night roster:

Forwards: Arron Asham, Brian Boyle, Derick Brassard, Ryan Callahan, Derek Dorsett, Jesper Fast, Carl Hagelin, J.T. Miller, Dominic Moore, Rick Nash, Benoit Pouliot, Taylor Pyatt, Brad Richards, Derek Stepan, Mats Zuccarello

Defensemen: Michael Del Zotto, Justin Falk, Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh, John Moore, Marc Staal, Anton Stralman

Goalies: Henrik Lundqvist, Marty Biron

Read more »

Rangers downed by Kings – Do. Not. Panic.

The Rangers preseason means nothing. Bring on Thursday.

The Rangers preseason means nothing. Bring on Thursday.

In another one sided preseason game, the Rangers were out of luck in Las Vegas as they lost 5-1 to the LA Kings including conceding the first goal inside 15 seconds. Jon Quick made 22 saves while the Kings scored two goals on the powerplay.

On a night of few bright spots, JT Miller continued to play catch up after missing preseason time as he scored the Rangers lone goal. Given his pro experience and strong play in the preseason Miller is a strong candidate to be one of the kids to stick around to start the season. At the very least Miller has made plays been noticeable and used his body effectively. The two goals in three games are almost a bonus.

Read more »

Kristo among those sent to Hartford in today’s cuts

Per Andrew Gross, the Rangers have cut the following players, and sent them to the AHL’s Hartford Wolfpack:

Goalies: Cam Talbot

Defensemen: Tommy Hughes, Aaron Johnson, Dylan McIlrath, Danny Syvret

Forwards: Micheal Haley, Michael Kantor, Andrew Yogan, Danny Kristo

While most of these were predictable (I got 8 of 9 correct), Kristo being sent to the AHL is a bit of a surprise. Many thought he was playing well, albeit slightly inconsistent. My guess is that Kristo will need top-six minutes, and it is something he won’t get at the NHL level right now (a reason why Brandon Mashinter may still be here). Plus, he has been outplayed by the other kids vying for a top-six role while Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin are injured (Oscar Lindberg, Jesper Fast, Marek Hrivik).

A quick note on Mashinter: With Haley cut, Mashinter appears to have leapfrogged him on the depth chart. The kid is playing well, but has a long way to go to supplant the Derek Dorsett’s and Arron Asham’s of the team.

Miller, Staal, Allen with solid play in third preseason loss

Hasn't missed a beat (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Hasn’t missed a beat (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Rangers lost their third preseason game –and second straight– tonight in Edmonton, but it was not all negative. J.T. Miller and Connor Allen played extremely well tonight. Allen is leapfrogging kids on the depth chart very, very quickly. We all know about Miller’s potential, and the kid played will with Arron Asham and Chris Kreider. Marc Staal also showed what he brings to the Rangers when he is fully healthy. Boy did he look good. Very assertive with the puck.

  • Starting with the powerplay, the Rangers are moving the puck well, but they are still holding the puck a little too long. It was nice to see people in front of the net with the man advantage as well. It’s still a work in progress, and this wasn’t their top powerplay unit out there. It was nice to see Ryan McDonagh get some time out there too.
  • For those wondering, it was a 2-1-2 (spread) on the 5 on 3, and an umbrella on the 5 on 4s.
  • Connor Allen has some wheels on him. Kid got back really quickly on the Ben Eager shorty. He forced the shot, and it was just some bad puck luck. That’s a goal that happens in NHL 14. Kevin is big on Marek Hrivik (as am I), but Allen has been very, very impressive.
  • As mentioned above, JT Miller and Marc Staal sure looked good. Staal isn’t missing a beat after that gruesome eye injury. Ditto Miller and his hammy.

Read more »

Preseason Game 4: Shaking off rust in Edmonton

(Photo: LoHud)

(Photo: LoHud)

The Rangers are in Edmonton tonight to take on the Oilers in their second of back-to-back games, and second of a four-in-five stretch to close out the preseason. The lines for tonight’s game have generated some discussion, particularly when you look at the forward lines. This is a team that needs to shake off the rust, but needs to give their highly touted prospects a lot of ice time to see what they are made of.

I haven’t watched much Edmonton hockey over the past year, but their style of play two years ago was centered around a 1-2-2 forecheck and defensive zone pressure. With more skill and speed on their team, it wouldn’t shock me to see a more aggressive style of play from the Oilers.

Rangers lineup:

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Lines for tonight’s game against Edmonton

Per Steve Zipay, the lines for tonight’s game against Edmonton will be:

Benoit Pouliot-Derick Brassard-Mats Zuccarello
Marek Hrivik-Oscar Lindberg-Danny Kristo
Micheal Haley-Dominic Moore-Derek Dorsett
Chris Kreider-JT Miller-Arron Asham

Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi
Marc Staal-Conor Allen
Aaron Johnson-Tommy Hughes

Martin Biron (full game)
Cam Talbot

There are a few things worth noting here, first being Connor Allen on a pairing with Marc Staal. The kid has impressed, and will be getting a bigger chance to impress while playing with Staal. It’s also worth noting that Chris Kreider is getting a second straight game after being removed from the top line last night. He needs to rebound, and fast.

AV’s new styles showing in Rangers 4-1 loss to Calgary

(Andrew Theodorakis/New York Daily News)

(Andrew Theodorakis/New York Daily News)

Although the Rangers lost tonight’s game in Calgary, we learned a lot of important things about Alain Vigneault and his coaching style. The first, and it’s something we’ve heard a lot about, is that he preaches offense, and getting offense from his defensemen. We saw that on the first goal, when Marc Staal was down by the circles for the goal. We also saw that AV will be a bit more passive on the forecheck, allowing the game to come to his forwards. The surprising part was that AV still ran his 1-2-2 forecheck (Torts ran a 2-1-2) despite being down two goals. Anyway, on to the thoughts from the game:

  • I started watching the game right at the powerplay goal, so that just happened to be perfect timing. It appeared that the goal came from a broken play, but it’s worth noting that Staal snuck in from the far point, something that the Rangers didn’t do much of last year. Staal read the play, saw the scramble in front, and crept in looking for a loose puck. He found it.
  • Brad Richards is making the absence of Derek Stepan have a lesser impact. The Rangers still need him (depth), but Richards is playing like the top line center they paid for two offseasons ago. Everyone here expected him to have a bounce back year, so let’s hope this is the beginning of some good things to come. We also saw how AV will deploy that line a lot in the offensive zone.
  • Marek Hrivik isn’t the sexy name like Danny Kristo, Oscar Lindberg, or Jesper Fast, but his game is so simple. He doesn’t seem lost out there. Kevin thinks he is the perfect guy to make the team while Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin are injured, and I’m inclined to agree.

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Preseason Game 3: Roster beginning to take shape in Calgary

(Jeff McIntosh/AP)

(Jeff McIntosh/AP)

The opening night roster is beginning to take shape for the Rangers, as some line combinations have already started forming. Today, one of those forward lines (Chris Kreider-Brad Richards-Rick Nash) and two defense pairings (Marc Staal-Michael Del Zotto, John Moore-Anton Stralman) take the ice with prospects and veterans looking to play a role for the big club against the Calgary Flames.

Despite what the Flames may have done off the ice, it doesn’t affect their style of play on the ice. The last time the Rangers played Calgary, the Flames used a 1-2-2 hybrid trap that sends one man deep on the forecheck, with two guys at the blue line waiting for turnovers. However the Rangers haven’t played Calgary in two years, and since we don’t watch them that much, we are unsure what exact style they use today. My guess is that they stick with the 1-2-2 forecheck, and use a hybrid overload/collapse in the defensive zone.

Rangers Lineup:

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Lines for tonight appear to be set

Per Steve Zipay, the lines for tonight’s preseason game in Calgary appear to be set:

Chris Kreider-Brad Richards-Rick Nash
Marek Hrivik-Brian Boyle-Jesper Fast
Taylor Pyatt-Oscar Lindberg-Danny Kristo
Brandon Mashinter-Darroll Powe-Arron Asham

Marc Staal-Michael Del Zotto
John Moore-Anton Stralman
Justin Falk-Stu Bickel

Henrik Lundqvist
Cam Talbot

The top two defense pairings and the top line have been standard all preseason. It’s interesting to see Fast split from Lindberg and Kristo, since that trio had a ton of success and chemistry in the Traverse City Tournament. Also, it appears the fourth line and bottom pairing are set specifically for competition purposes. All five appear to be in the picture from a depth perspective.