With the glut of injuries on defense, most recently to Steve Eminger, the Rangers needed to bring up a defenseman. Tim Erixon was the obvious choice, but the salary cap would make it difficult. Instead, the Rangers have chosen to call up Stu Bickel, who, at 25 years old has never played in the NHL. Bickel was one of the last cuts this training camp, but that also was largely due to multiple injuries.
Would have preferred Erixon, but his salary compared to the cap room the Rangers have right now is an issue. I also think Tortorella wanted to add more physicality to the blue line with Sauer and Eminger out, and Bickel certainly fits that mold, having 80 penalty minutes in 27 games this season with the Connecticut Whale.
Good for Bickel getting his shot, but this really is far from ideal from the Rangers, who will have him as well as Woywitka and Stralman – none of whom started the season with the team – on the blue line for at least Tuesday’s game against the Devils. The team as a whole is going to need to step up defensively.