Archive for Preseason
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?
The Rangers have announced their next round of cuts, trimming the roster to 25 players. Brady Skjei highlights the cuts, and while he likely deserves to have a bit of a longer look, the fact that he is waiver exempt meant he was going to Hartford from the start barring a ridiculous camp. Others cut are Luke Adam, Ryan Bourque, Chris Summers, Magnus Hellberg, Mat Bodie, and Brian Gibbons.
Gibbons, Bourque, Summers, and Adam will all need to clear waivers. Bourque might get claimed, but we say that every year.
The roster picture is getting clearer as cuts have been made, but there are still games to be played and positions to be won. The Devils are dressing what could be five of their top six defensemen and what could be their top line tonight. The Rangers haven’t released lines yet, but both Marc Staal and Dan Girardi will be making their preseason debuts after being held out for the first few games. Oscar Lindberg is in the lineup tonight, playing in his fourth straight preseason game. He’s played all three forwards positions so far, so expect him to play some defense tonight. Maybe some goalie. Who knows.
What have they done lately?
The Devils are not expected to be good this year, and are likely going to be cellar dwellers this year. But they do have talent, a solid netminder, and a new coach.
The Rangers have announced the lineup for tomorrow’s game against the Devils:
Apparently Lindberg is going to play every single game in the preseason, probably at all six positions too. Guessing he plays goalie at some point.
When Henrik Lundqvist went down with a fluke vascular injury last season, all eyes turned to Cam Talbot. A very short time after inking a very reasonable one year, $1.45 million extension, Talbot was thrust into starting duty. After his impressive rookie season as backup to the King, this was his first big test. Long story short, Talbot delivered and the focus began to shift to the ultimate offseason return for the former University of Alabama-Huntsville keeper. Whatever we may think of the value he brought in hindsight, his departure to Edmonton left the Rangers without a reliable backup in the system. Especially in light of Mackenzie Skapski’s injury.
On the very same day Talbot was shipped out to western Canada, the front office turned Ryan Haggerty into Antti Raanta. While a somewhat under-the-radar move, I think everyone assumed the Rangers had found their backup. Raanta had a very short NHL track record (39 career games), but had put up excellent number this past season. At 26 years-old, he was an ideal backup with some upside.
The Ranger have announced more cuts, trimming five more from the roster. Brett Bellemore, Marek Hrivik, Adam Tambellini, Jeff Malcolm, and Tommy Hughes will report to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL.
Bellemore was the only semi-surprising cut for two reasons. The first is that I thought he was playing somewhat well, but I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that the coaching staff likes Dylan McIlrath and Brady Skjei more. The second is that he was on a PTO. I guess he is going on an AHL tryout? Who knows.
The baby Rangers, the kids competing for roster spots, shined last night, but the team blew a two goal lead in the third period en route to a shootout loss to the Bruins. It’s the preseason, so there’s no need to complain, panic, or worry. The kids played well, and although they lost, you can see that the Rangers will have new blood in the lineup in October, with more knocking on the door as injury call ups.
- Brady Skjei is making it very difficult to cut him. He was solid again last night. He looked at home on the powerplay, drawing a defender out of position at the point and opening up the ice for Kevin Hayes for his goal. He will likely spend time in the AHL, just like Ryan McDonagh did to start his career. But the kid is the real deal.
- Brett Bellemore –fighting skill aside, he got crushed in that fight– is also making it hard to cut him. He’s been quietly solid.
- Oscar Lindberg had another strong game, this time at RW. He played LW and C in the other two games. Kid offers versatility all over the ice. He’s making this team. He and Jarret Stoll really clicked. Stoll is another one with a strong game.
- Ryan Bourque wasn’t flashy, but he was overall solid. He finished checks, was in on the forecheck, and was rarely out of position. If it wasn’t for Brian Gibbons, he’d be a dark horse to make the club. He also ensured the game got to a shootout.