Now that Derek Stepan’s contract situation is all settled, the Rangers roster for the 2015-2016 season is more or less set. There is always a possibility for a Ryan Malone-style PTO, but as of now, this is our group. Currently, there are fourteen (thirteen if you don’t actually count Glass) viable NHL forwards fighting for playing time on the roster. Certain factors like Mats Zuccarello’s recovery and the continued upward trajectory of JT Miller/Jesper Fast’s development could potentially test the depth that Glen Sather/Jeff Gorton have built.
In examining this forward group, I got flashbacks to last year when James Sheppard was brought on board. It got me wondering if Alain Vigneault can ever really bring himself to relegating Tanner Glass to the press box on a regular basis? Now, clearly, we’ve been down this road before. I think the general consensus is that Tanner Glass is literally the worst player in the NHL. He does nothing well. However, AV loves him for some inexplicable reason.
Looking at the fringes, Oscar Lindberg looks poised to take on a meaningful role this season. Ryan Bourque showed enough in his NHL debut last season to give us some confidence he could be an effective fourth line player. Viktor Stalberg looks to be a bargain bottom-six pickup. I suppose you could stretch and talk about Emerson Etem not being a finished product, but you don’t trade Carl Hagelin for the guy if you don’t feel he is going to be a consistent part of, at least, the middle-six.
Chances are the Rangers are only going to carry thirteen forwards, which would likely make Bourque the odd-man out. Assuming a forward group of Nash, Stepan, Kreider, Miller, Hayes, Brassard, Zuccarello, Etem, Fast, Moore, Lindberg, Stalberg and Glass, Glass is the obvious candidate to sit. But will he?
We all rejoiced when James Sheppard was brought over from San Jose at the deadline. We assumed that he would force Glass into a depth role, due to his versatility and defensive prowess. Granted, Shep’s time in New York had a fairly vanilla beginning, but AV had Glass back in the lineup so fast, we didn’t know what to do.
My concern is we are going to end up seeing Stalberg, or worse yet, Lindberg, getting the press box treatment over everyone’s favorite whipping boy. I know this paranoia is probably a little premature, but it’s summer and there’s not much else going on.
So, to validate my own insanity, I want to hear from you, our beloved readership. Do you think AV will finally have the gall to relegate one of the league’s worst players to the skybox where he belongs? Take a moment to vote in the poll below and discuss in the comments. Have a great weekend, everyone!