There is finally some good news for the Rangers. Igor Shesterkin returns to practice today, making Louis Domingue the third stringer at practice, as expected. Hopefully this means one of the most important Rangers is back after a one game absence. He may not have stopped the 3-0 collapse in Minnesota, but his presence in net does give the Rangers a boost.
In addition to Shesterkin returning, Peter Laviolette shook up the lines just a bit with Barclay Goodrow also returning.
Based on jersey colors, looking like this at #NYR practice today:
— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) November 6, 2023
For the most part, the top of the lineup remains as expected. The only difference, aside from Goodrow returning, is that Nick Bonino is moving up to the 3C spot for a game over Jonny Brodzinski. The defense remains unchanged for now.
Of course right after those lines were published, Peter Laviolette tried something completely new.
Now we get a look at a #NYR practice lineup, with a couple notable changes:
Kreider – Zib – Wheeler
Panarin – Trocheck – Laf
Cuylle – Bonino – Kakko
Vesey – Goodrow – Pitlick
Miller – Trouba
Lindgren – Gustafsson
Jones – Schneider
— Vince Z. Mercogliano (@vzmercogliano) November 6, 2023
The first reaction is to see Blake Wheeler on the top line and the pessimists to scream “I told you so.” But again, nuance matters. Filip Chytil’s injury matters. This is the perfect time to tinker and try new things. If they don’t work, they go back to Plan A. If they do work, then great! Or, perhaps if they work somewhat well, they become the Plan B.
Wheeler on the top line isn’t a big deal. Neither is Kaapo Kakko on the third line. Bonino as the 3C is likely a short lived experiment, ditto Goodrow as the 4C. This is just tinkering for now while they manage their missing 2C. We shall see how this unfolds.
It does seem like poor cap management to recall both Domingue and Connor Mackey just one day after returning them to Hartford. With Shesterkin returning and Zac Jones likely playing, it seemed unnecessary to recall them yesterday. Domingue in particular didn’t need to be recalled, and it could have saved the Rangers some additional cap space.
Adam Fox’s LTIR designation likely impacts some of the decision making, which I’m not going to pretend like I understand the full implication with LTIR and banking cap space. Seems odd, but I’m probably missing something.