Perhaps a forgotten man on the roster, Puempel seems to be the easiest fallback option for the Rangers. When the Rangers claimed Puempel off waivers from the Ottawa Senators, the team had hoped they would see the talent realized, the same talent that Ottawa saw when they drafted him in the first round back in 2011. It doesn’t appear he’ll become a twenty goal scorer, but Puempel is still just 24 and can slot in easily on the wing if Fast is no longer around.
Puempel is a restricted free agent, but there has been no indication that the Rangers will not give him a qualifying offer. There’s still hope that the Rangers can turn him into productive fourth liner given the right linemates, and has the tools to be an NHL player.
Losing Jesper Fast possibly for nothing is going to hurt, but if the alternatives are any of the previous five listed, the Rangers may be in good hands regardless. And if the Golden Knights decide to skip over Fast in the expansion draft, even better.