One of the odder questions this summer was the status of 2014 5th rounder Richard Nejezchleb. He remained unsigned, but was in camp this year. That situation is resolved, as Nejezchleb has signed an AHL deal with the Hartford Wolf Pack. Since it’s an AHL deal, he will not count towards the 50 contract limit, nor will he be able to be called up to the NHL. His rights remain with the Rangers.
Per Elliotte Friedman, there are a lot of teams watching the Oscar Lindberg situation with the Rangers very closely. They want to see how he performs and if he makes the team. It is highly unlikely Lindberg clears waivers if he does not make the team, and the Rangers are well aware of this.
Friedman isn’t exactly bringing us shocking news, it’s something we’ve all speculated since the summer. Lindberg is an NHL player, and he will be an NHL player –hopefully for the Rangers– this season. The notion that he’s not going to clear waivers is known.
The Rangers have announced their lineup for tomorrow’s preseason game against the Bruins.
The Rangers have made their first round of cuts today, cutting 19 players. Of those 19 players cut, 12 will go to the AHL, six will go to their respective Junior teams, and one will be cut from his tryout.
To the AHL (12): Calle Andersson, Kodie Curran, Cedrick Desjardins, Troy Donnay, Chris McCarthy, Chad Nehring, Josh Nicholls, Sam Noreau, Mackenzie Skapski, Michael St. Croix, Nick Tarnasky, Petr Zamorsky
Released From Tryout (1): Jacob Smith
It’s interesting to me that Ryan Graves made the first round of cuts. It shows how high the organization is on him. Especially since he made the cut over Andersson/Zamorsky.
Don’t over-analyze the Skapski cut too much. He was never starting in the NHL this year. Antti Raanta and Magnus Hellberg are competing for the backup spot. That was always the plan. The Rangers have 43 players remaining in camp.
Much was made yesterday of Alain Vigneault’s decision to dress defenseman Kevin Klein back-to-back nights this week given the developing competition for the final spots on the blueline in training camp.
On the one hand, Klein only dressed Monday because Dan Boyle was a last minute scratch, so perhaps some are reading into it too much. However, there were many other players Vigneault could switched with Klein last night, but he still chose to play the 30-year-old veteran again.
Despite Klein’s struggles late last season, it was still widely assumed that the final spot on the bottom pairing was all his entering training camp, but there are a few other things to consider. Read More→
After an impressive performance last night against the Devils, the Rangers are in Philly to take on a Flyers team that, like the Devils, isn’t expected to make much noise this year. They are certainly more talented, but they are weak on the blue line and have minimal forward depth.
Today’s contest will feature a 3-on-3 overtime period, regardless of the score of the game.
What have they done lately?
The Flyers are not expected to be a playoff team this year. However, they have Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek, so they are capable of beating any team on any given night. They aren’t as bad as the Devils.
It may have been just one preseason game, and I may just be overly excited about hockey, but last night’s game against the Devils really helped me believe that the depth signings the Rangers made this summer were solid. While most of these players aren’t going to be full time NHLers, most of these guys can be fine players in the bottom-six as a call-up if needed. We saw it last year with the injuries sustained early in the season and eventually in the playoffs, guys that can fill roles help teams win.
Brian Gibbons (pictured above)- The speedy yet undersized forward was a pain in the butt two years ago for the Penguins on the fourth line. Last year when he signed with the Blue Jackets I was really expecting him to become a full time NHLer, but he only ended up playing 25 games for them. His forechecking ability, defensive prowess, great speed, and underrated shot can really fit in well with this team if/when he is called upon. Gibbons is flexible, and can play center or wing. He was impressive against the Devils, and could move up the forward depth chart quickly.
The Rangers announced their lineup for tonight’s game:
Per Steve Zipay, the top two lines are Etem-Hayes-Miller and Lindberg-Stoll-Stalberg. Guys playing back to backs are McIlrath, Diaz, Adam, Megna, Stalberg, Lindberg, and Bourque. It is not a coincidence that most of these guys are either on the bubble or kids playing for a roster spot.
Hockey is officially back. The Rangers opened their preseason last night with a 6-3 victory over the Devils. The fourth line of Jayson Megna, Brian Gibbons, and Luke Adam put on a show, scoring three times. Gibbons had a goal and two assists, and Megna had a pair of goals, one on the powerplay. Since this is the preseason, I’m not going into a goal breakdown, but you can check out all the GIFs from the game at www.nyrgifs.com. You can also check video highlights on the Videos page.
- That fourth line looked like they wanted to stay a little longer. They were already written off before the game started, and this was a bit of a statement by them. If anything, Megna and Gibbons earned a longer look in camp.
- Brady Skjei certainly didn’t look out of place. He made a lot of nice plays with the puck, and one very nice defensive play that started the Oscar Lindberg goal.
- Dylan McIlrath wasn’t flashy, and I really didn’t notice him that much. He took a penalty with a hit to the head, but he wasn’t really targeting the head. His elbow was in, but he’s 6’5″, and if you hit anyone at that height, it’s going to be in the head. I looked up his stats, and he managed to drive possession (58%) with just 33% OZ starts. Don’t put much stock into single game possession samples in the preseason though, was just something I looked up.
Hockey is finally back. The Rangers are at home to take on the Devils tonight in their preseason opener. While the game may be meaningless, there are battles to be fought and roster spots to be won. Five players in the lineup tonight are fighting for a roster spot, and most eyes tonight will be on them.
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.