With the first preseason game coming up tomorrow, the Rangers are having a full team scrimmage today. Per Pat Leonard, the lines for each team are the following:
Team A forwards: Pouliot-Brassard-Zucc, Pyatt-Lindberg-Fast, Haley-Moore-Dorsett, Mashinter-St. Croix-Nicholls
Team A d-men and goalies: McDonagh-Girardi, Moore-Stralman, Allen-Hughes, B. Nash … Goalies Biron, Hedberg
Team B forwards: Kreider-Richards-Nash, Hrivik-Boyle-Kristo, Bourque-Powe-Asham, Yogan-Kantor-O’Donnell
Team B d-men and goalies: Staal-DZ, Johnson-Pyvret, Falk-McIlrath … Lundqvist and Talbot in net
The Pouliot-Brassard-Zuccarello line on Team A could be the Rangers third line this season, so that is one to watch Also, it is interesting to see both Fast and Lindberg on a line together, wonder if Pyatt will be able to keep pace. On Team B, the Kreider-Richards-Nash line could be the top line this season. Seeing Boyle between Hrivik and Kristo is intriguing.
Don’t forget, this is being televised on MSG. Go watch.
Biron is at the center of an unexpected goalie competition.
When August turned to September, the one position that had zero uncertainty was goaltender. Henrik Lundqvist is the starter, and Martin Biron was supposed to be the backup. A wrench was thrown into that plan when Biron missed the first two days of camp with a personal issue, and the Rangers invited former Devil Johan Hedberg to camp on a professional tryout. Now, all signs point to a goaltender competition, as Biron will need to outplay Hedberg to win his spot as the backup.
It was a rather curious move, bringing in Hedberg when Biron wasn’t expected to miss much time. Biron has been one of the most consistent backups in the league since joining the Rangers three years ago. Biron played well in his first two-year contract (signed in 2010), earning himself another two-year deal that expires after this season. Marty has been consistently solid in net, and remains one of the best backups in the league. Of course, he does carry a $1.3 million cap hit, pretty high for a backup.
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Per Katie Strang, JT Miller will not be skating over the next two games, and will not be participating in the Rangers first two preseason games against the Devils and Flyers next week. Miller limped off the ice on Thursday with an apparent hamstring injury, but skated the following day. Keeping him off the ice is likely just precautionary, as the team likely doesn’t want to push the kid this early into camp.
As expected, Derek Stepan was not in camp as he awaits a new contract.
Per Andrew Gross, day three of training camp (day two of on-ice activities) was divided into three groups, with each group comprised of a mix of kids and vets. The day was spent doing drills. The line combinations used during camp saw kids skating on lines with vets, a good way to help build confidence and measure them against current NHL standards. Also per Gross, the lines for the first group were as follows:
Michael St. Croix-Brad Richards-Mats Zuccarello
Benoit Pouilot-Derick Brassard-Josh Nicholls
Ryan Bourque-Dominic Moore-Shawn O’Donnell
Anthony Duclair-Andrew Yogan-Derek Dorsett
Per Leslie Treff, Conor Allen (defenseman) was skating in a group with the Brassard line, and looked very good skating alongside Brassard and Nicholls. She specifically pointed out that Allen’s instincts were solid. She also noted that Dylan McIlrath looked good on the ice following his bad knee injury last season. I’d expect him to get a long look at camp, this is an important year for him.
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The 2013 officially Rangers hit the ice for the first time this season, finishing the first day of on-ice activities of training camp. It appears that most of the work was conditioning related. Some notes, courtesy of Leslie Treff:
- Of the new comers, Anthony Duclair, Oscar Lindberg, Justin Falk, and John Moore were all impressive during the sprints. All showed balance, speed, and a good stride. Apparently Mats Zuccarello beat out Chris Kreider in a sprint as well.
- The team seemed to be very impressed with Lindberg.
- JT Miller limped off the ice with an apparent hamstring injury. He should be back tomorrow.
- Martin Biron was not at camp today, but is expected back tomorrow.
- Goaltender Scott Stajcer was not on the ice due to offseason hip surgery. This is the second hip surgery.
- Derek Stepan was obviously absent as he awaits a new contract.
The Rangers have (finally) released the 66-man training camp roster. Although there is no online version, Rick Carpiniello tweeted two pictures of the roster (here and here)
Forwards: Arron Asham, JT Barnett, Ryan Bourque, Brian Boyle, Derick Brassard, Taylor Burke, Ryan Callahan, Derek Dorsett, Anthony Duclair, Jesper Fast, Josh Graves, Carl Hagelin, Michael Haley, Marek Hrivik, Kyle Jean, Michael Kantor, Chris Kreider, Danny Kristo, Oscar Lindberg, Brandon Mashinter, JT Miller, Dominic Moore, Rick Nash, Josh Nicholls, Benoit Pouliot, Shawn O’Donnell, Darroll Powe, Taylor Pyatt, Brad Richards, Thomas Spelling, Michael St. Croix, Derek Stepan, Dyson Stevenson, Peter Trainor, Jason Wilson, Klarc Wilson, Andrew Yogan, Mats Zuccarello
Defensemen: Conor Allen, Stu Bickel, Michael Del Zotto, Charlie Dodero, Troy Donnay, Justin Falk, Ben Fanelli, Dan Girardi, Ryan Graves, Tommy Hughes, Aaron Johnson, Ryan McDonagh, Dylan McIlrath, Joon Moore, Brendon Nash, Samuel Noreau, Jimmy Oligny, Marc Staal, Anton Stralman, Danny Syvret
Goalie: Martin Biron, Johan Hedberg, Henrik Lundqvist, Jeff Malcolm, Jason Missiaen, Mackenzie Skapski, Scott Stajcer, Cam Talbot
The NHL roster will likely consist of 12-14 forwards, 6-7 defensemen, and 2 goalies, so naturally we will see a lot of movement over the next few days. The first move will be sending kids back to the Canadian Junior teams, which should occur before the first preseason game on Monday.
Per Pat Leonard, backup goalie Martin Biron is not in camp at the moment due to personal reasons. It is unknown how long he will be out. (Update: AV has stated there is no timetable for Biron to return, per the Rangers Twitter account.)
Leonard also noted that Johan Hedberg, most recently with the Devils, is in camp on a professional tryout. Hedberg’s tryout is interesting, since the Rangers are pretty set at goaltender this year. There is likely something that we are missing. Who knows, maybe they just want to talk to him about how backup goalies tend to look like Patrick Roy against the Rangers.
What’s the status of Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin?
Both players underwent surgery on torn shoulder labrums following the 2013 season and their initial recovery timelines indicated they could each miss the first month of the 2013-2014 season. However, both Callahan and Hagelin have been skating with teammates in the weeks leading up to training camp and have reported no setbacks. Neither is ready for contact just yet, but they both seem to be progressing quickly. It’s still a good bet that neither player will be ready for the season-opener, but we should get a clearer picture of their status during camp. Read more »
The preseason schedule for the Rangers has been released:
- 9/16 @ New Jersey, 7PM
- 9/17 @ Philly, 7PM
- 9/23 @ Calgary, TBD
- 9/24 @ Edmonton, 9:30PM
- 9/26 @ Vancouver, 10PM
- 9/27 @ LA in Las Vegas, 10PM
With the final year of the renovation still in progress, the Rangers will be on the road for all six road games, and likely all of October when the season starts. Training camp will begin on 9/11, and the Traverse City Tournament will begin on 9/5.
The lack of depth on defense could be an issue
Heading into this season, the Rangers are one of the favorites to not only take the division and conference crowns, but to possibly bring the Stanley Cup back to New York. Playing in such a condensed season, the Rangers are not only going to have to be good, they are going to have to be lucky as well. There are a multitude of things that could easily derail this powerhouse.
You could say this about the other 29 teams in the league, too, but there’s no denying that a significant injury to Henrik Lundqvist (knock on wood) or several other crucial Blueshirts could ruin the season in a hurry. Considering not everyone is in peak shape, it’s certainly possible that we could see a few major injuries in the first weeks of the season that change the landscape of the playoff race.
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