Archive for Preseason
Enough has already been said about the two preseason games so far, and by this point everybody’s well aware that Jacob Trouba is on the market and on the Rangers’ radar. Given all of that, I figured it’d be best to share just a few scattered thoughts that have stuck in my mind so far this preseason.
- Kreider/Zibanejad/Buchnevich seems like it’s a lock, given their chemistry and complimentary skill sets, with Vesey/Hayes/Nash being the next obvious line combo. I personally like the idea, with the three of them bringing serious size and hands to the table, and putting Nash on the “third” line helps spread the wealth and force teams to make tough decisions defensively. This would all imply a Zucc/Stepan/Miller line, which is also a perfectly reasonable scoring line. The big question is how does the fourth line turn out, especially given the play of both Pirri and Grabner so far?
The next round of cuts for the Rangers has come, and goalies Brandon Halverson and Jeff Malcolm are the only two being cut. With Henrik Lundqvist returning and a logjam at the position, Halverson and Malcolm will be returned to the Hartford Wolf Pack for their training camp.
The Rangers have secured victories in their first two pre-season games, and the forward group has shown a lot to be excited about. There was significant turnover in the roster for the first two games, and a lot to digest and analyze as the front office and coaching staff try to mold a group of twenty-three out of a very packed field. As you can imagine, I have some thoughts…
- In watching the first two games of the pre-season, offensive zone puck movement has jumped out at me the most. They are finding lanes, showing patience and creating a net front presence we haven’t seen over the past few seasons. Kevin Hayes continued to show elite vision, even if I wish he would pull the trigger a little more often. I suppose that’s what we now have Brandon Pirri and Mika Zibenejad for.
Another game, another multi-point night for Brandon Pirri. He scored a goal and an assist in the first period and added a powerplay goal in the third. In two games, he has a line of 3-2-5. Pirri was the entirety of the Rangers offense, as they beat the Devils 3-1 to improve to 2-0 on the preseason. Since it’s the preseason, bullet points sum up how the kids played better than goal breakdowns. On to it:
- Nick Holden looked like he belonged early, leaving Mike Cammalleri wide open in front. Antti Raanta bailed him out. But then he bailed out Raanta later in the period. Funny how that works.
- Jimmy Vesey got sprung for a break early by Kevin Hayes, and wow what speed. If Hayes and Vesey click with Nash, that’s some incredible speed, talent, and vision on one line.
- Apparently Hayes lost 20 pounds, per the broadcast crew. That’s interesting. Obviously it’ll help him be quicker. But what bothers me is that he lost 20 lbs in about four months. Would take me two years to do that.
- John Gilmour has a rocket of a shot. It seems like the Rangers have targeted guys that look to shoot recently.
After a great start to the preseason, the Rangers are back in action tonight against the Devils. Much of the focus will again be on the top line of Vesey-Hayes-Nash. Similar to the Kreider-Zibanejad-Buchnevich line, this is something that Alain Vigneault is at least experimenting with as a possible regular season line. Buchnevich, by the way, is playing again tonight, as is Brandon Pirri.
The blue line is a bit muddled. Three guys playing tonight are expected to be on the opening night roster in some capacity. McIlrath is getting his second straight game after scoring and looking overall solid on Tuesday. For some odd reason I think he’s on the outside looking in, so he will need another solid performance tonight.
The Rangers have released the lines for tomorrow’s preseason game against the Devils:
This lineup follows the same formula from yesterday’s preseason game. The top line is a trio we could see in the regular season, while the fourth line is players that likely aren’t making the team (sorry Jensen).
The Rangers have made their first round of roster cuts today, and none of the cuts are really all that surprising. Those with AHL contracts were sent to Hartford. Some with amateur/professional try outs were cut. Those that could return to Juniors were sent to their respective clubs. In total, 13 cuts were made:
Returned to Hartford: Adam Chapie, Troy Donnay, Michael Joly, and Ahti Oksanen
Released from PTO, reporting to Hartford: Matt Carey, Spiro Goulakos, and Garrett Noonan
Released from ATO: Nick Betz, Reid Duke, and Joseph Raaymakers
Returns to Juniors: Tim Gettinger, Ty Ronning, and Sergey Zborovskiy
As mentioned above, these are the expected first cuts. The Rangers are left with 50 players in camp.
Hockey has arrived, and boy am I happy to say that. The Rangers begin their preseason tonight at home against the Islanders. There are a bunch of roster battles taking place this preseason, with the focus primarily on the bottom six. There are seven players dressing tonight who are in contention for those spots, and we will continue to keep an eye on them and all others fighting for a spot as the preseason moves along.
The blue line isn’t up for as much debate, but the Rangers still have some question marks there. Will Dan Girardi and Marc Staal be able to rebound to some level of respectability? We will get a first glimpse of them tonight. We also get to see if Brady Skjei can be a regular, and if Adam Clendining was truly a shrewd offseason signing.
Hockey is back, folks. The Rangers have released the lineup for tomorrow’s preseason opener against the Isles:
The weather has cooled off. Training camp has started. Preseason hockey will begin tomorrow. It is almost that time of the year when we can see meaningful games for our beloved Rangers. The team was busy this offseason, retooling the bottom six with an emphasis on speed and puck possession. Add in a relative blockbuster trade, and the forward group is completely different.
Many pundits expect the Rangers to be a no-doubter for the playoffs. Others think the Rangers will be a bubble team. The reality is likely somewhere in the middle, as there are some major questions for this team.