The realistic opening night NYR roster

Yea, he's on the roster (Vincent Pugliese/Getty Images North America)
Yea, he’s on the roster (Vincent Pugliese/Getty Images North America)

Now that the roster is finally taking shape, and the pieces are starting to fall into place, the main questions are about the line combinations and kids making the roster. Signings like Tanner Glass and Lee Stempniak add flexibility to a roster that was almost 100% reliant on kids making the roster, while all of the core pieces are returning for this season.

No matter which way you look at it, the Rangers have significant turnover this season. They lost Brad Richards, Benoit Pouliot, Brian Boyle, Derek Dorsett, and Dan Carcillo up front. They lost Anton Stralman on the blue line. But hey, 100% of their goalies will be back this year, so that’s a plus.

Derick Brassard and John Moore remain unsigned, but that’s not really a big concern. Both will be back and both will fit under the salary cap. Piggybacking off Suit’s line combinations post, here’s what we could be looking at on opening night:

2014 roster

It’s worth noting that this is not an attempt to figure out line combinations. Suit did that already, and I just based this off last year’s combinations the best I could.

Anyway, you’ll notice the top-six pretty much remains the same, aside from swapping Mats Zuccarello and Carl Hagelin. Zucc belongs in the top-six, and Haglein belongs on a third line. Plus, his defensive ability will surely balance out what will be some defensive issues should J.T. Miller make the squad as the 3C.

I slotted in Jesper Fast as the 4RW because he’s a right handed shot and appeared to be NHL ready. Naturally, Oscar Lindberg and Ryan Bourque will give him –and Miller– some competition. The cap hits for those guys are all interchangeable, so it doesn’t really matter who slides in where from a cap perspective.

Alain Vigneault likes to carry extras, hence keeping Mike Kostka and Matt Lombardi. There’s not much wiggle room for injuries, which could come back to bite them in the rear, but for now, this is most likely your opening night roster.

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  • Seems quite reasonable. Basically saying that one prospect needs to make the opening roster and another 1 / 2 is needed to push one / both of Glass / Lombardi to the press box

    Hopefully Miller, Fast and Lindberg are able to prove themselves quality NHLers for both this season and next

    Duclair and Buchnevich waiting as the next wave of forwards while Skeij is coming to bolster the D. Any progress from McIlrath would be nice too

    All seems stable / on track in Rangerland

  • The proposed lines are not bad at all, and the team can compete with just about anyone in the NHL!!

    I still can see Lindberg being the 3rd line center, with Miller on the wing. In any case, the team probably will start out a bit slow, and then catch fire in the November time frame, and make a good run for a play off spot.

    Whatever the line up, we should be a very fast team, and make it rough for others to keep up, that’s exciting for me!!!!

  • AV is notorious for not having his team ready for the beginning on the regular season. The Blueshirts did somewhat catch fire having the benefit of playing in a very weak Metropolitan division.
    I don’t see the 4th line as a good fit for Jesper Fast. He doesn’t play aggressive enough and lacks the size. He be better off in Hartford developing his offensive game. There is an abundance of energy players out there already, what the Rangers need are players who can put the puck in the net.

      • Not at all. When AV was here in Vancouver the Canucks always had a slow start in the beginning of their season. You will find that the teams’ win/lose record strongly supports my view.
        This Ranger team should be familiar with AV’s system by now. When and if, they come out of the gate slow this year, the NY sports writers will have to find another excuse for their poor play.

    • What about Chris Mueller? He’s on a one way deal. Fast can be sent to the farm just about anytime. Mueller is a right handed Centerman that can play either wing. I see a spot for him over any of the young kids. Pus aside from Fast, they’re all lefties. Are we gonna have 10 lefties on the NHL roster again? The more righties the better. Fast can be the Yo Yo this season if need be Mueller has to clear waivers and can be taken for nothing. He’s on the team unless he flops in camp or can’t keep up.

      • Fast needs some seasoning I don’t think he’s ready for primetime. Lets see what Chris Mueller brings to the table.

  • I think the first two lines will look better this way: Nash-Stepan-St.Louis—-Kreider-Brassard-Zuccarello, The third & fourth are up in the air but Bourque would be better there than Fast. Fast will need to beat out Stempniak & I hope he does actually.

    • Top six is the way I hope it will be. Fast can go up and down at any time. Chris Mueller is on a cheap one-way contract. He’s a right handed Centerman. As long as it’s a righty shot. It’s really all that matters

  • I still think there is ample time left to tweak the roster. I am very surprised no one has taken a flyer on Devon Setegouchi. I have a feel there will be some changes to the roster. I would put Stempniak with Brass and Zuke at the start of training camp to see if they will have Chemistry. I would keep Kreider and Stepan with Nash. MSL with Dom Moore and one of Fast, Miller and Kristo. Fourth line would be Lindberg, Mueller and Glass with the possibility of Setegouchi getting signed. Mind you these are for training camp and let it evolve. Lombardi can take shifts on the 3rd and fourth lines.
    Defense would be easy enough with McIlrath competing with Klein and Allen with Moore. Rangers have a major decision to make with Staal to see what his future plans are. If he wants to move on better to trade him early rather than later. This team needs the entire year to gel into a cohesive unit to compete for the cup. There is no luxury of waiting for them to gel slowly. Many teams have improved while the Rangers have technically regressed.

    • I think the Rangers are done. When the RFAs are all signed, the roster will be at 50. They can still clear one or two slots by sending players to juniors but remember they still hope to sign Hayes. And you want to have flexibility for later on. They are just not about to take a flyer on another player at this point.

      • That’s true. The reserve list is full once they resign all RFA’s. Unless they don’t sign Ryan Borque but he finally had a decent pro season and a lot of time and effort has gone into that kid. To let him go now would be dumb. Brassard is either signed or replaced.
        They are about done now. I think they could use one more righty or a bigger Centerman. It seems the team is done come Monday.

    • Agreed. Tanner Glass was adored by both Vancouver and Winnipeg fans. AV knows what Tanner Glass brings to the table.
      For those hockey fans who don’t like the rough stuff in hockey, case in point the cheap shot on Stephan in the playoffs. I ask you did the referees or the league protect Derek from getting his head taken off?
      Team players like Tanner will not stand for cheap shots taken on their teammates. The Rangers need a player like Glass in their lineup and the reason for the 3 year deal, they were bidding against other hockey GMs who also wanted Tanner Glass on their roster.

  • I don’t see him on anyone’s radar but yours. Do you know something we don’t? He’s had a number of chances to make it in the bigs and hasn’t been able to cut it. What’s the secret?

  • Can’t wait for Glass to meet Pacioretty & Prust during the season. Somebody is going to pay
    dearly for bloodying McDonough with a crosscheck & breaking McDonough’s face.

    And Glass is not a wrestler like Prust, Glass is
    a puncher. Ask guys like Clowe, Neil, Matt Martin, Nystrom who were ALL sent to the locker room for repairs after dancing with Glass. And Glass is an excellent clean, penalty free bodychecker as well

    Not sold with St Louis doing well with this team,
    If he starts slow & Rangers struggle, expect Hagelin to be put on 2nd line.

    Would be interesting if St Louis gets outscored
    by Callahan & Tampa plays better than Rangers.

    Really believe St Louis is not a good fit.

  • You have nash moving over to RW between his age and dismal season last year. I think you’re just planting a time bomb. I’d ask kreider a younger player who has shown he can step up over Nash for all that matter Bassard for the money he leveraged out of managements failure to get a Top center from free agency should play all the forward positions without notable change in play. We are all armchair coaching AV has had a plan in the whole off season with all the picks
    my vision of the team out of camp is
    3) Nash,Bass,stempi
    That leaves JT and Haggerty as reserve I’d love to see the play and we’ll see in october AV’s dream com to reality and hopefully a CUP for hank and the team

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