The Rangers playoff roster likely won't include Adam Edstrom or Matt Rempe, but they will be Black Aces, most likely.

Adam Edstrom and Matt Rempe have been great stories for the Rangers this year, with many calling for them to be on the Rangers playoff roster. Rempe has been the headline stealer, but Edstrom has been a steady presence on a 4th line that needed it. Yet it’s unlikely either will be on the Rangers playoff roster, and it’s the right choice.

Before jumping down my throat, you should be aware this isn’t my preference. It’s clear both have played well enough to warrant extended looks, more ice time, and more patience to work through some growing pains that were exposed against Toronto and Florida.

But, and there is a but, the Rangers are in their window to win a Stanley Cup. While we may not agree, it’s highly unlikely Peter Laviolette will want two rookies playing a key role on the 4th line without some kind of insurance in case they get overwhelmed. In fact, it’s more likely Rempe and Edstrom will be the insurance policy for the Rangers playoff roster.

Moreover, it does appear the Rangers have found themselves a secondary shutdown line. Will Cuylle, Barclay Goodrow, and Jimmy Vesey were given extended minutes over the last few games, to pretty solid results.

Say what you want about Goodrow, he’s not going anywhere this season and will be on the Rangers playoff roster, for better or for worse. This isn’t opinion, it’s just straight fact at this point. Once that’s accepted, and we know he will be used in a shutdown role, the number of spots for Rempe and Edstrom gets smaller.

Aside: Happy to eat these words should something happen by Friday.

This isn’t a slight on either Edstrom or Rempe. It’s that they are likely the insurance policy on whomever winds up on the fourth line. Plus, it would benefit both to get an extended playoff run with the Hartford Wolf Pack so that when they are given these minutes –likely next season– they are better prepared. Remember, depth wins. Options win.

In this case, the depth and the options aren’t necessarily coming on the 4th line, but in the top-nine where the Rangers need help. Assuming the Blueshirts finalize the Alex Wennberg deal and eventually trade for a 1RW, that pushes two current players to the 4th line. Currently those players are Jonny Brodzinski and Jimmy Vesey.

Should Edstrom or Rempe replace either one of them on the Rangers playoff roster? Possibly, but we won’t know just yet. But do we know that most NHL coaches, including Laviolette, won’t want to rely on multiple rookies in key shutdown roles? Absolutely.

If anything, it’s become clear that Edstrom and Rempe will be the 13F/14F on whatever the final Rangers playoff roster looks like. It eliminates a need to acquire another depth center –Edstrom is a center– or depth winger. Both put distance between Jake Leschyshyn and a starting role with the Rangers in the playoffs. That is perhaps their first trade deadline move, and it cost them nothing.

Edstrom and Rempe are great stories. They will hopefully be part of a solid Rangers 4th line for years to come. But it won’t be this postseason, barring injury. Instead, expect both to be this year’s version of the Black Aces.


Mentioned in this article:

More About: