Josh Jooris First to be Pushed out by New York Rangers’ Depth

The New York Rangers waived Josh Jooris on Saturday. Jooris, who played in 12 games with the Rangers this season, was a victim of New York’s tremendous forward depth.

Despite the laundry list of injuries plaguing the New York Rangers’ forward corps, a forward was waived by the Rangers on Saturday. Josh Jooris was placed on waivers following a 12 game stint with New York. In the 12 games, Jooris totaled one goal and one assist, playing few minutes when he entered the lineup.

Alain Vigneault surprised many when he included Jooris on the opening night roster despite Jooris missing most of the preseason with injury. Jooris made his Rangers debut in their third game of the season, playing 9:59 in a New York win. From there, the former Calgary Flame saw his ice-time dwindle, his name enter and vacate the lineup card, and his status take the shape of a question mark.

While Jooris owns plenty of value as a fourth liner, the New York Rangers never needed him. Matt Puempel joined the team as a waiver claim in late November, the first sign of Jooris being pushed out. Alain Vigneault wished to have an offensive-minded forward on the fourth line, a shift in philosophy for the coach. Jooris’ one area of struggle is on offense, which placed him behind Oscar Lindberg in the lineup as well.

Despite the injuries to Pavel Buchnevich and Mika Zibanejad, Jooris could not find his way into the lineup regularly. First it was Lindberg taking his spot, then Puempel, and later on other call-ups. The Rangers promoted Marek Hrivik and Nicklas Jensen, allowing Jensen to play on the power-play, and Lindberg on the penalty kill.

Whether or not deserved, Vigneault’s lack of trust in Jooris was a key factor in pushing the forward out. On a team with few options, Jooris may have survived the lack of support from his coach. Instead, Jooris found himself pushed out by a variety of depth options.

A major priority of Jeff Gorton’s in the off-season, the depth does wonders for the Rangers, but places the fringe-forwards in a difficult situation. Josh Jooris learned the hard way that the Rangers own a replacement for every forward that fails to meet expectations.

An argument exists that the waiving was unjust, but with depth to spare the Rangers can afford to pick and choose. Promoting Marek Hrivik and Nicklas Jensen sparked Jesper Fast and Oscar Lindberg’s games to improve. Down in Hartford, Justin Fontaine and Cristoval Nieves continue to thrive as potential future call-ups.

Normally when a fine fourth-liner is waived, teams hope the player clears waivers. Josh Jooris is a strong fourth liner, but for New York he is one of many options. Whether Jooris is claimed or not, the Rangers will be fine.