The Rangers are trimming down the players to make this years version of the Broadway Blueshirts. Today the Rangers have announced that 5 players have been send to their Hartford AHL affiliate, Ryan Bourque, Josh Nicholls, Michael St. Croix, Brendon Nash, and Shawn O'Donnell. The sixth that is no longer with the Rangers is goalie Johan Hedberg who the Rangers brought on when Martin Biron left the team for a few days due to a personal issue, he was let go of his Player Tryout Agreement.
Of the players let go, only Ryan Bourque and Shawn O'Donnell saw action in either of the two preseason games to date. None of todays cuts were very surprising. Ryan Bourque looked stronger but not enough to beat out a player such as Mats Zuccarello since they would most likely play the same role in the Rangers offense. Players still around are N.Y.C.'s own Michael Kantor, who lead the team with 6 hits in last nights game against the Flyers, and Tommy Hughes who hasn't seen game action yet.
With 4 games in 5 nights coming up in the preseason, it would make sense to keep 3 goalies and to everyones surprise, Cam Talbot looks ready for the bigtime although it might not be this season as Martin Biron showed he is still a very solid goalie by stopping all the shots that came his way against the Flyers.
On defense, it would seem that the top 6 is set with Marc Staal playing well. The combination of Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh is as good as it gets in the NHL. Stall seems to be teamed with Michael DelZotto right now. Anton Stralman and John Moore are as good a third pair as there is in the NHL. The battle is for the 7th man among Johnson, Justin Falk, and Connor Allen. Last night was a tough one for future Ranger Dyaln McIlrath. Stu Bickel could get the job if coach AV is looking for a fighter, which he likes. Syvret will be the mentor type in Hartford. Johnson fits the role that the Rangers are looking for a 7th dman and he has played that role before in his career without issues, so I expect him to get the job while the rest are sent to Hartford. If the Rangers have an longterm injury or trade, I can see Connor Allen stepping into the lineup and fill whatever role is needed.
At forward, the Rangers seem to have the top 14 spots set except with AV there could be a shakeup coming. With Derek Stepan holding out and the injuries to Captain Callahan and Carl Hagelin, there is a chance for a few prospects to step up and force the Rangers to rethink who stays and who goes. The top line at this time seems to be Rick Nash-Brad Richards-Chris Kreider. The Rangers second line is missing in action -Carl Hagelin-Derek Stepan-Ryan Callahan so the Rangers will be looking for offensive types to fill this role. Right now, the best looking fit would be Danny Kristo--Oscar Lindberg--Jesper Fast. This also helps with King Henriks want for Swedish bretheron in New York. Third line minutes would then be Benoit Pouliot-Derrik Brassard-Mats Zuccarello. The 4th line is where it gets interesting. AV likes having a tough-big line so it would seem Brian Boyle-Dominic Moore-Derek Dorsett. That leaves out Aaron Asham, Taylor Pyattt, Michael Haley, Brandon Mashinter, Darrol Powe, and Andrew Yogan. No matter how you look at it, the Rangers finally have the depth needed for the battles that lay ahead. Putting a 4th line together of Haley-Moore-Dorsett and sending down Pyatt,Powe ,Asham,Falk--Capgeek.com has the Rangers with $3,695,833 to sign Stepan. So it isn't that the Rangers don't have the money and capspace, they are doing the same thing they have done to many players before them to stay withing the cap system. Derek Stepan and his agent Matt Oates need to stop demanding too much becauseif it was good enough for our Captain Callahan, it is clearly good enough for him. Sign already Stepan!! I am sticking with my numbers from June--a 2 year deal worth $3.2 per!
Let's Go Rangers!!!!