Predicting the NY Rangers’ 28-man roster for the playoffs

Will we get some prospect surprises?

One of the more interesting aspects of the 24-team playoff is that teams are likely going to be allowed to carry more than the usual 23-man rosters. This gives a teams more injury coverage and much more flexibility throughout the playoff run.

As of today, the Rangers have 21 players at the NHL level, one on IR (Micheal Haley), and one pending a suspension (Brendan Lemieux). That leaves six roster spots open for players. My guess is this would be very similar to a taxi squad that we usually see during the playoffs. But at least we do know how some of this is going to play out.

The Guarantees

This is pretty straight forward and shouldn’t surprise anyone. However you’ll note one omission.

Goalies (3): Henrik Lundqvist, Igor Shesterkin, Alex Georgiev
Defensemen (6): Jacob Trouba, Marc Staal, Brendan Smith, Tony DeAngelo, Adam Fox, Ryan Lindgren
Forwards (12): Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Pavel Buchnevich, Ryan Strome, Filip Chytil, Pavel Buchnevich, Jesper Fast, Lemieux, Julien Gauthier, Phil Di Giuseppe, Brett Howden, Greg McKegg.

You’ll notice Kaapo Kakko is missing here. His omission is because of his pre-existing conditions. His health matters more.

The Probables

Defensemen (1): Libor Hajek
Forwards (3): Kakko, Boo Nieves, Vinni Lettieri

These should be pretty straight forward as well. Hajek has the organization’s favor right now and already has NHL experience. Kakko will probably still be with the team even with the pre-existing conditions. Nieves and Lettieri are usually the call ups whenever the Rangers need one. Plus with Lemieux facing a suspension for as many as three games, they will need an additional bottom six forward.

The Wild Cards

Defensemen (2): Yegor Rykov, Darren Raddysh
Forwards (2): Tim Gettinger, Vitali Kravtsov

Rykov is likely going to fight for a roster spot next season, so having him sit with NHLers in important games likely makes sense from a taxi squad standpoint. Same goes for Kravtsov. Raddysh had a solid Pack season and the Blueshirts are relatively thin at that position. Gettinger has been called up before, but even if he is on the roster I can’t really see him getting ice time unless there’s major injuries.

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  • I think you are not taking the alternates seriously enough. Igor Shesterkin is seriously good and a deep run, maybe even the Cup, is not unthinkable. Coming right out of camp, injuries are a real possibility. I think the Rangers should carry fourteen forwards who can play and eight defensemen who can play. it might be nice to carry Kakko as a mascot and let Rykov and/or Kravtsov see what the NHL playoffs look like, but these choices would be mistakes. The Rangers need four guys who can play – if they can find them.

    The no-brainers should be Nieves and Raddysh. For the second forward, I’d lean Fogarty I think – but Lettieri or Beleskey are possibilities (is Haley still out? if not, I’d through him in the mix). Several fair possibilities, but no good ones.

    The eighth defenseman slot is a real disaster though. A week ago, I might even have opted for Sean Day. Hajek is abysmal and likely has less of a future than Day ultimately. At present at least, Rykov is also awful though I have more hope for his future. I suppose I would live with Nick Ebert, though ultimately the choice is likely to be Hajek because of his experience.

  • If you’re keeping Kakko around and exposing him to risk then what’s the point of him not playing? Exposure is exposure. I said it over a week ago when JD brought up the issue (and got down voted for it), but if the Type 1 Diabetes has been managed properly there’s no greater risk of contracting the virus and they’re not at higher risk of developing serious complications, especially in the absence of a secondary chronic condition. I understand the caution though, but if he’s in the environment then he should be able to play.

    Re: Kravtsov, he has to be there — you can’t screw around with him, he’s the future. It would be a slap to the face if you left him out.

    Lastly I agree with Ray, Fogarty should be there. However I disagree with the assessment that it’s a mistake to include players like Kravs or Rykov because they can’t “play” — the future is the present and vice versa. They need to be here both for their psychological well being and for the experience.

    • Somehow I was constructing a 25 man roster (oops) and I really believe you need at least that many players. However, if you have 28, you can afford one or two or perhaps even three mascots.

      I don’t think there are easy answers with Kravtsov. Dealing with a player who is extremely talented but does not grasp that he has a lot to learn and is not as good (now!) as he thinks he is is a tough balancing act. You need to wake him but not break him. Everyone here seems obsessed with not breaking him, but that alone is not good enough.

      In fact, suppose you have two courses of action. Plan A gives you a top line forward 1/3 of the time and nothing the other two thirds. Plan B always gets you a fourth line forward. What do you choose? Sadly, an organization that chooses Plan B escapes criticism (but doesn’t win). One that chooses A is derided whenever the plan fails, which is more than half the time.

      The real key is reading people. So far, the Rangers have not seemed to be very good at it.

      • They were too quick to break him at the beginning of the season and he bolted, so at a minimum we should try a more balanced approach. He came back and by all accounts was more open to “correction”, slapping him in the face at this time would be a mistake … and make no mistake about it, leaving him off of this extended roster would be just that.

  • We should consider adding Lias Andersson to the post season roster. He has NHL experience and, if he gets some good minutes, could make him better trade bait in the future.

    • I don’t think Lias is an option right now. Seems he’s content building himself back up in Sweden. Can’t see him or the Rangers looking to rock that boat right now.

      • Rangers Fan in Boston

        I’m sorry to have to break the news but Lias, and the Rangers are currently in discussions on that very subject………..I just read that this morning on the Blueshirts web site!!!!!!!

        • the three stooges are at it again, read the next thread you ass’s. this crap never stops, showing your ignorance all the time…….

  • Listen, I just don’t understand this Kakko narrative that he can’t play. He is a healthy young man with his pre-existing conditions well under control. He may be a little more at risk than someone who has none, but let’s be real here, this virus doesn’t attack and kill the strong. I think this decision should be his and his alone. He is a big boy and doesn’t need someone to speak for him. Jesus, this is still America, isn’t it?

    • There’s a protein receptor that makes people receptive to type II diabetes & high blood pressure that (in theory) increases the chances you will have a bad outcome if you catch the virus. Type 1 diabetes is a different beast. He should be fine as long as they take

  • A little extra caution with Kakko makes sense. So long as they consult with physicians and everyone takes their advice, Kakko should be OK.

    But, he is young and you just don’t want him damaged. The virus apparently can leave your lungs scarred even if you are young and recover. So caution is smart.

    • Then wouldn’t we (and all the teams in the League) apply that standard to any young player on the team? When it comes to risk of getting the virus there appears to be no difference between a Type 1 Diabetic and any normally healthy young adult.

  • i think its wide open. No one above mentions O’Regan who played 3 seasons for Quinnn at BU, was a leader w HWP this season. Reunanen, Crawley could be ahead of Rykov. Ebert has most pro experience of the bubble D guys. Beleskey, Lias, Fogarty easily also in the mix up front,.But all of Beleskey, ORegan, Fogarty, Boo, Vinni, Ebert can walk as UFAs. Does that matter? Give them extra incentive to impress?

  • Lias Andersson has to be here … it is the first step to building some value for the guy. Gettinger showed he does not belong yet and Vinny and Boo are Quad A players – too good for Hartford – not good enough for broadway .., You put Kakko on the roster and decide with him if he can/should play… Hajak and Rykov and Vitaly are no brainers

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