The Case to Call Up Morgan Barron
The Rangers have a huge void to fill with Artemi Panarin taking a leave of absence from the team. Not to mention Kaapo Kakko is still out because of COVID protocols. While there are options on the taxi squad, I think this could be the time to make an AHL call-up. That AHL call up should specifically be Morgan Barron.
Barron played center while at Cornell University but since joining the Hartford Wolf Pack he has shifted to left wing. Versatility is already a great quality to have in an emergency recall; Barron could continue to play on the wing, or he could fill a bottom-six center role.
In just four games with the Pack, Barron earned three points (2G, 1A). He is part of Hartford’s top line along with Jonny Brodzinski and Patrick Newell who have six and three points respectively in four games.
Barron is no stranger to a point-per-game (or nearly that) pace. In his last season at Cornell, Barron earned 32 points in 29 games while wearing the “C” for the Big Red. In 2018-19, he earned 34 points in 36 games.
Brodzinski is currently on the Rangers’ taxi squad. However, the Rangers shuffle players to and from the taxi squad on off days for cap purposes. He did practice with the NHL squad today but personally, I think Barron should get a shot instead.
It’s too early to call the season lost, but the Rangers currently sit with a record below .500. With Panarin out now and the lackluster play from other veterans on the team, the upcoming schedule will surely be difficult. Why not give the “kids” the opportunity to show us what they got?
We started to see this when Alexis Lafreniere earned first line minutes with Panarin and Mika Zibanejad. Lafreniere scored a goal on that top line and remained there in practice with Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevich.
Taking a look at the bottom six from practice, I don’t see why Barron couldn’t slot into one of the wing positions or even as fourth line center. The third and fourth lines at practice were:
Lemieux – Howden – Gauthier
PDG – Rooney – Brodzinski
Lemieux and Howden are guaranteed to stay in the lineup, but any of the four remaining players could swap for Barron. Phil DiGuiseppe has not scored yet this season and Gauthier has been in and out of the lineup since the start of the season. It wouldn’t hurt to take this time with roster availability to see what Barron has to offer instead.
Head coach David Quinn commented that Barron looked nervous at training camp, which helped lead to the decision to send him to Hartford. Since then, Morgan Barron has looked confident and earned at least a short-term NHL stint with a call up.
If the motto of this season is “let the kids play” then the Rangers should go all-in and give the 22-year-old a shot.