John Moore is almost guaranteed a suspension. An in-person hearing with the Department of Player Safety doesn’t guarantee a suspension, but it gives them the option of suspending a player more than five games. Since Moore is a repeat offender, receiving two games for a hit on Dale Weise in last year’s playoffs, it’s a guarantee he misses at least three games, likely five or more.
At the moment, Matt Hunwick is playing somewhat steady filling in for the injured Dan Boyle. Mike Kostka played one game, had a few epic turnovers, but one game isn’t indicative of an entire career. Conor Allen is in Hartford, and he’s the guy most fans think is ready for a shot. Dylan McIlrath was the last one cut from camp, and the first round pick has shown significant progress and promise.
So what can the Rangers do?
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This past offseason, the Rangers let Anton Stralman walk via free agency and a five-year, $4.5 million deal in Tampa Bay. They replaced him with Dan Boyle on a shorter term deal, two years at $4.5 million. While the move was hotly contested by many, and created a divide for the pro-Stralman and anti-Stralman debate, the fact is that Boyle was still a serviceable replacement, and someone who would certainly help the team on the powerplay.
But then, 40 minutes into the season, Boyle broke his hand. Mike Kostka and Matt Hunwick have been called upon to replace him in the lineup, paired with either Marc Staal or John Moore. For the first month of the season, the Rangers are replacing Stralman with the Kostka/Hunwick combination, and no matter which way you slice it, that was never part of the plan.
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It comes with no surprise that the Rangers have recalled defenseman Mike Kostka from the Hartford Wolf Pack. With Dan Boyle out, the Rangers were short one right-handed defenseman, and Kosta was the only logical choice to fill in at the moment (Dylan McIlrath needs top minutes in the AHL).
Matt Hunwick is a left-handed shot, which is why he probably won’t get the look right away.
Per Renaud Lavoie, the Rangers have waived center Matt Lombardi and defensemen Steve Kampfer and Mike Kostka. As a formality, they have also placed goalie Cedrick Desjardins on waivers, but that was expected. He wasn’t on waivers during the last round of cuts because he was injured, and injured players cannot be waived.
This means that Matt Hunwick has likely won the 7D spot (assuming Dylan McIlrath is sent to Hartford for big minutes). This also means that Lombardi’s injury likely cost him a legitimate shot at cracking this roster. I assume he will be a short term injury call up if need be.
Ryan Bourque is riding a wave of momentum after his strong second-half performance last season
Immediately after July 1, it looked like the Rangers would have several forward spots open to competition at training camp. However, the eventual signings of Matt Lombardi, Lee Stempniak and Kevin Hayes have made it much more difficult for anyone else to earn a spot in the lineup. The likes of J.T. Miller, Jesper Fast and Oscar Lindberg still figure to duke it out with some of those depth signings for the final spot or two, but it’s going to be exceedingly difficult for anyone else to enter the fray. With that said, here’s a look at the handful of forwards and defensemen that could conceivably be in the mix with a standout performance at camp.
Ryan Malone – This one is a real long-shot not only because of the legal questions surrounding Malone, but because the Rangers would have to ship out a player to fit Malone under the 50-contract limit. Malone was once an effective power forward and is presumably being invited to training camp on the off chance the Blueshirts catch lightning in a bottle in their search to replace Benoit Pouliot, but unless Malone dominates, it’s highly unlikely he makes the team.
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The Rangers have officially replaced both Anton Stralman and Raphael Diaz, signing UFA defensemen Dan Boyle and Mike Kostka. Boyle got two years and $4.5 million per year, with a no-movement clause (relatively pointless). Boyle’s #fancystats aren’t terrible, but he’s been exploited a few times for losing his foot speed. The cap hit isn’t terrible, but the second year might hurt them. At the very least, he will help the powerplay.
Kostka will take Diaz’s place as the #7 defenseman, taking a one-year deal at $650,000.
Free agency is upon us, and teams that were not allowed to talk specific contract details will find a way to work out extremely complicated contracts within minutes of free agency opening. The Rangers have four key guys headed to free agency, with three likely on their way out. We summarized those here. We will be live-blogging the free agency signings, with moves made by the Rangers in bold. Discuss anything you want, keep it civil.
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