Prior to the Rangers heading off to Canada to start their Western Cananda swing making stops in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver the Rangers announced six more cuts to their training camp roster, sending 5 to the AHL affliate in Hartford, and cutting ties with Johan Hedberg who was brought on as a PTO.
The roster stands at the following (credit: Andrew Gross):
Sent to Hartford: Ryan Bourque, Josh Nicholls, Michael St. Croix, Shawn O’Donnell, and Brendon Nash
Released from PTO: Johan Headberg
Forwards: Arron Asham, Brian Boyle, Derick Brassard, Ryan Callahan, Derek Dorsett, Jesper Fast, Carl Hagelin, Micheal Haley, Marek Hrivik, Michael Kantor, Chris Kreider, Danny Kristo, Oscar Lindberg, Brandon Mashinter, J.T. Miller, Dominic Moore, Rick Nash, Benoit Pouliot, Darroll Powe, Taylor Pyatt, Brad Richards, Derek Stepan, Andrew Yogan, Mats Zuccarello
Defenseman: Tommy Hughes, Aaron Johnson, Ryan McDonagh, Dylan McIlrath, John Moore, Marc Staal, Anton Stralman, Danny Syvret, Conor Allen, Stu Bickell, Michael Del Zotto, Justin Falk, Dan Girard
Goaltenders: Henrik Lundqvist, Martin Biron, Cam Talbot
Everyone’s surprise to see stay on the camp roster is Dylan McIlrath, who had a less than impressive debut last night against Philadelphia. But so did Aaron Johnson, Justin Falk, and Stu Bickel who also sit on awaiting their fates. There has yet to be a clear cut winner for the seventh and final defensive spot, and the questioning still continues on who it will be. We’re not here to guess yet, so time will tell as we await to hear what the next steps are for these young defenseman fighting for their lives.
Regarding the goalie situation in the upcoming games, Alain Vigneault announced that Lundqvist will start in the Calgary and Vancouver games while Biron will get the start in Edmonton. No word on if it’s going to be for a full game for each of them, or if one of the two will split time with Cam Talbot. Vigneault spoke to reporters today and had this to say about now released Johan Hedberg (from Ranger rants):
“We talked yesterday after the game with Glen (Sather) and his staff and Benoit (Allaire), thinking how we were going to use Henrik and we figured with four games in five nights the best way to get him ready was to play him the first game in Calgary and the game in Vancouver, not to play him when we travel,” Vigneault said. “If he’s playing those two and I want to give a full game to Marty, then there’s only one game left. So I called Johan this morning to tell him ‘Listen, there’s a possibility you might get a half game but there’s also a possibility you might not get a game depending on how things unfold.’ A veteran player, a guy well-respected across the league, I wanted him to hear it from me and I left the decision up to him. He just decided to stay back.”
In other news today, J.T. Miller who has missed training camp and the first two preseason games due to a tight groin. He skated with the first group, and is expected to see action in one of the three upcoming preseason games, and if all is right, it could happen as early as Monday against Calgary.
Also, in some Chris Kreider news, expect him to play more in front of the net and be aggressive, Vigneault mentioned today. So, you want him to become Ryan Kesler? Okay, Kreider better bulk up and jump out of more pools. But here’s what AV said about that transition for the youngster:
When a player tells me, it’s not an easy position to play or a place to play. The example I use is Ryan Kesler, I wouldn’t say we convinced him, but we told him that with the twins, go to the front of the net, screen the goalie and you will see. He won the Selke, scored 21 on the PP. It’s a good spot to be if you wanna score. It’s not an easy place to be, you are gonna take some abuse, a lot of times, shots are gonna hit you and not go through. There is a willingness there. You look at the Holmstroms, those guys made it an art. And it is an art. it’s not an easy place to be. I see him being able to contribute, we are just trying him out there and its’ just a possibility
Finally, the Derek Stepan situation takes one for the worst, as he was taken off the active roster for the New York Rangers today. Not sure what this means if anything, but the fact he has yet to sign, and thus not show up to training camp, has Ranger fans, and members of the organization, worried.