Archive for Preseason
Three months of hockey-less living has been rough, but the Rangers return to the ice tonight against the New Jersey Devils. There are a lot of roster spots open for the taking, and a lot of the guys competing for those spots are in action tonight. Tonight marks the debuts of the highly anticipated Kevin Hayes, Dan Boyle, and Tanner Glass.
In case you need a refresher (click here for all systems posts), Alain Vigneault has his guys playing a moderate 1-2-2 forecheck and a strong-side overload in the DZ (man-on-man when the puck is below the goal line). With a lead, AV will back the 1-2-2 forecheck up to the neutral zone, forcing turnovers while keeping five bodies back for defense. As for special teams, the Rangers run a 1-3-1/umbrella hybrid powerplay and a hybrid (diamond/wedge+1) penalty kill).
As for the Devils, Pete DeBoer has the Devils playing a 1-2-2 forecheck which they’ll use aggressively in the offensive zone or passively in the neutral zone as a trap depending on game situation. In the defensive zone, Deboer employs a hybrid overload/zone defensive system depending on whether the puck is along the boards or at mid-ice. On special teams, the Devils employ an umbrella/1-3-1 power play. On the penalty kill, the Devs rotate between a box and a diamond depending on puck location and the setup of the opposition.
The Rangers kick off their preseason schedule tonight against the Devils, and seven of the forwards in the lineup tonight are slated to be competing for roster spots. There are, by my count, four open roster spots (3C, 3RW, 4LW, 4RW) in addition to the 13F and 7D spots. In total, that’s six roster spots up for grabs for forwards.
Alain Vigneault is on record saying most of the kids headed to Juniors will be cut on Wednesday –with a select few (Duclair) sticking around, of course– so the natural feeling is that Groups A and B will comprise the NHL roster and most of the guys competing for the open spots.
Let’s look at the front-runners for each spot:
Update 11:25am: These were the lines during the morning skate, as Kevin Hayes appears to be replacing the injured Derek Stepan. Also, it looks like Cam Talbot will be playing, not MacKenzie Skapski or Jason Missiaen.
Henrik Lundqvist/Cam Talbot
Original Post: After yesterday’s scrimmage, the Rangers announced that Group A from training camp will be suiting up tonight for the preseason opener against the Devils.
Forwards: Ryan Bourque, Jesper Fast, Tanner Glass, Carl Hagelin, Chris Kreider, Danny Kristo, Matthew Lombardi, Ryan Malone, J.T. Miller, Chris Mueller, Martin St. Louis,
Defensemen: Dan Boyle, Steven Kampfer, Michael Kostka, Ryan Mantha, John Moore, Samuel Noreau, Marc Staal.
Goalies: Henrik Lundqvist, Mackenzie Skapski, Jason Missiaen.
Per The Daily News, the training camp roster is divided into three teams: A, B, and C. When looking at the team makeup, Team C appears to be all kids that are headed to the AHL or Juniors sooner rather than later. Teams A and B appears to be a mix of vets, kids competing for spots, and prospects destined for the AHL. However, of the vets in Teams A and B, it’s telling to see how Alain Vigneault has his initial lines and pairings.
Forwards: Ryan Bourque (25), Jesper Fast (91), Tanner Glass (15), Carl Hagelin (62), Chris Kreider (20), Danny Kristo (29), Matthew Lombardi (45), Ryan Malone (24), J.T. Miller (10), Chris Mueller (86), Martin St. Louis (26), Derek Stepan (21).
The Rangers training camp roster has been announced, and it contains 63 players. The breakdown is 37 forwards, 20 defensemen, and 6 goalies. Some cuts are going to be sooner rather than later, as kids headed to Juniors will be returned to their respective teams. Here’s the breakdown of the players on the training camp roster:
Forwards (37): Chris Bourque, Ryan Bourque, Derick Brassard, Nathan Burns, Anthony Duclair, Jesper Fast, Tanner Glass, Carl Hagelin, Ryan Haggerty, Kevin Hayes, Marek Hrivik, Keegan Iverson, Michael Kantor, Chris Kreider, Danny Kristo, Nickolas Latta, Paxton Leroux, Oscar Lindberg, Matthew Lombardi, Ryan Malone, Chris McCarthy, J.T. Miller, Dominic Moore, Chris Mueller, Rick Nash, Richard Nejezchleb, Logan Nelson, Josh Nicholls, Ryan Potulny, Michael St. Croix, Martin St. Louis, Lee Stempniak, Derek Stepan, Adam Tambellini, Nick Tarnasky, Andrew Yogan, Mats Zuccarello.
Defensemen (20): Conor Allen, Mat Bodie, Dan Boyle, Troy Donnay, Dan Girardi, Ryan Graves, Tommy Hughes, Matt Hunwick, Steven Kampfer, Kevin Klein, Michael Kostka, Ryan Mantha, Ryan McDonagh, Dylan McIlrath, John Moore, Samuel Noreau, Marc Staal, Dallas Valentine, Daniel Walcott, Petr Zamorsky.
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→
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
Goalies: Henrik Lundqvist, Marty Biron
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.
Per Andrew Gross, the Rangers have cut the following players, and sent them to the AHL’s Hartford Wolfpack:
Goalies: Cam Talbot
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.
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.