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.
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.
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
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.