With limited space, NY Rangers will need to trim training camp invite list
The NHL is limiting training camps to 36 skaters this year as part of the 2021 COVID restrictions. This means the Rangers will have a lighter camp than normal, at least among skaters. With these limitations, the NY Rangers will be restricted on who they will invite to training camp this season. The Rangers have 40 skaters signed to NHL deals. They will need to trim the invite list from that group.
The players invited will likely be limited to those at the NHL and AHL level only. The Rangers usually have some prospects headed to the CHL at camp before sending them back to Juniors. This year is likely different. The condensed roster makes sense, given the shorter camp and no preseason games as well.
The forwards are a bit easier to gauge than the defensemen, if anything because most of the NHL roster is set already. The Rangers have 26 forwards signed to NHL deals and I would not expect all 26 to get invites.
As for defensemen, the Rangers have 14 signed to entry level deals. Again, not all 14 are going to get invites. This is the area where we will see a larger percentage of players invited because left defense is basically an open door.
Forwards (18): Artemi Panarin, Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, Ryan Strome, Pavel Buchnevich, Brendan Lemieux, Kaapo Kakko, Alexis Lafreniere, Filip Chytil, Julien Gauthier, Brett Howden, Kevin Rooney, Colin Blackwell, Phil Di Giuseppe, Morgan Barron, Justin Richards, Patrick Khodorenko, Austin Rueschhoff
There are two notable exemptions from this “guaranteed” list: Vitali Kravtsov and Yegor Rykov. It’s not a surprise they aren’t on the list, though. Both will finish out their KHL loans this season and then come over in March/April.
With 30 guaranteed spots, we are left with six bubble spots. There are only eight players with NHL contracts that aren’t on this list, so already two need to be left off.
Defensemen (1): Matthew Robertson
That is 35 players, but it doesn’t account for a potential PTO offer. It’s safe to assume the Rangers will extend a PTO offer to at least one unsigned UFA. Given the uncertainty around defense, my guess would be a defenseman. This is also why Robertson gets the invite. There’s a small chance he cracks the roster. It’s very unlikely, but he’s the only “surprise” here.
As mentioned above, the Rangers were going to have to omit a few players on NHL deals from this list. In this exercise, I looked at any player who spent the majority of last season in the ECHL and left them off. I also left off any player that had a major injury last season.
Given those criteria, the omissions here are Ty Ronning, Gabriel Fontaine (injury), and Jacob Elmer. Both Ronning and Elmer played the majority of last season in the ECHL. It may seem a bit unfair, since prospects do make progress. However with a limited invite list, some preliminary cuts had to be made.
The Rangers will be allowed unlimited goalies in camp, and will be required to carry three for the season. Igor Shesterkin, Alex Georgiev, and Keith Kincaid will be the three NHL goalies. Expect Adam Huska and Tyler Wall to be invited to camp as well.
It’s probably for the best that the NY Rangers needed to trim their training camp invite list from the start. The only impact is leaving off the CHL prospects like Braden Schneider, Will Cuylle, and others. It’s a necessary sacrifice to get this season rolling. The Rangers are not the only team that is trimming rosters from the start.