Gustav Rydahl - in the hunt in the Rangers 4C battle

One thing missing from the Rangers training camp lines from yesterday was a clear fourth line. The top nine seems to be set, but the fourth line was not even mentioned. There will be a clear battle throughout camp, most notably the Rangers 4C battle. There are at least three options for the Rangers at the moment.

If the preliminary training camp groups are anything to go by, then we may have some insight into Gerard Gallant’s preferences.

Ryan Carpenter stands alone in Group A

A low key addition in the offseason, Ryan Carpenter seems like a shoo-in for a roster spot. He is likely the front runner in the Rangers 4C battle. A known entity, Carpenter is very sound defensively and wins faceoffs. He’s been in a defensive role for a while now, and he is what he is. He’s the safe option.

The downside to Carpenter is that there is no offensive ability whatsoever. In a defensive shutdown role, that’s fine, but if the 4th line is expected to chip in offensively and/or move the puck up the ice, it doesn’t play to Carpenter’s strengths. The right linemates can certainly complement his skill set, but he’s not the driver himself.

The potential fourth liners in Carpenter’s group: Julien Gauthier. Karl Henriksson, another center. Maybe Bobby Trivigno?

Gustav Rydahl, the Rangers 4C battle wild card

Gustav Rydahl, a 28 year old center coming to the NHL from Sweden for the first time, was another unheralded free agent signing that makes the Rangers 4C battle interesting. Rydahl put up 15-15-30 in 44 games in the SHL last year. The scouting report is a solid two way player who is responsible in all three zones. Usually these kinds of signings are written off, but Rydahl seems different.

For starters, at 28 years old, Rydahl is also a known entity, at least in Sweden. He also didn’t need to come over from Sweden, having carved out a nice career. Logically speaking, he wouldn’t have signed a contract if he wasn’t promised a legitimate shot at the NHL level. Nothing is guaranteed, of course, but it is relatively rare that a late-twenties overseas player comes over without a real NHL spot.

Unlike Carpenter, Rydahl can chip in offensively, or at least has in Sweden. Whether or not that translates to the NHL, we don’t know. What was interesting to note was yesterday he was with Jimmy Vesey and Dryden Hunt, who are also in the….hunt…for 4th line roles.

Barclay Goodrow still lingers

Barclay Goodrow hasn’t participated in camp yet, likely due to lingering ankle issues from the playoffs. Goodrow can certainly play center, but as of now projects to be the 4LW. Goodrow was the Rangers’ 4C last year in the playoffs, and the fourth line is the perfect spot for him.

Given what the top nine project to be, it does appear the fourth line will be a shutdown line, a role in which Goodrow has thrived as a center. The ideal fourth line, based on current options, is Goodrow-Rydahl/Carpenter-Hunt, with Reaves and Gauther as other wing options.

Goodrow will obviously be on the Rangers to start the season, and when healthy will be in the lineup. He may not be a true “threat” in the Rangers 4C battle, but he’s a good backup option should both Rydahl and Carpenter be less than stellar in their expected roles.