The New York Rangers announced that they have promoted defenseman Joey Keane from Hartford. That was immediate fodder for some speculation about the roster.
It seems like a minor move, the promotion of Joey Keane from Hartford to the New York Rangers. But when you start asking why they made the move, there are questions.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) February 14, 2020
Joey Keane is a first year pro who is having a tremendous year with Hartford. He was an AHL all-star and is the top scoring defenseman on the Wolf Pack. The 20-year old has eight goals and 28 points in 48 games this season. He is the leading goal scorer among AHL rookie defensemen . He was drafted in the third round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, 88th overall.
Marc Staal has the flu and was replaced last night by Brendan Smith. Smith had a good game and David Quinn was very complimentary about his effort for which he was awarded the Broadway hat by his teammates.
So, Joey Keane is a depth defenseman who will sit and watch while Staal is out and Smith continues to play. But wait, Keane is a righthanded shot. If they are looking for depth at defense in case they need to move Smith back up to forward, they will need it on the left side, not the right.
Could the Rangers have brought up Keane because they know that they will need a righthanded shooting defenseman? Are Jacob Trouba, Adam Fox or Anthony DeAngelo under the weather? Or is Jeff Gorton about to pull the trigger on a DeAngelo deal?
Rick Carpiniello of The Athletic seemed to have the answer.
The Rangers’ recall of Joey Keane has to do with Tony DeAngelo getting banged up late in last night’s game. Will know more later.
— Rick Carpiniello (@RickCarpiniello) February 14, 2020
The question would be why Keane was promoted instead of Libor Hajek or Yegor Rykov, two lefthanded shooting defensemen who could slot into the lineup instead of Staal or Smith. Curious.
In all likelihood, this is the probability. The Rangers don’t think Marc Staal will be back for a couple days so they promoted Keane, knowing that he probably won’t play, but they want him to get a little NHL experience practicing and travelling with the big league team.
Or, as Carpiniello reported, DeAngelo is a question mark for tonight’s game and they need a righty shooter to replace him.
With the trade deadline less than two weeks away, any roster moves like this will raise questions. There won’t be any answers until the pre-game skate. Stay tuned.
By the way, the Rangers caused the demise of an NHL coach. Minnesota Wild coach Bruce Boudreau was fired after last night’s game and replace by Assistant Coach Dean Evason. It was a tough loss for the Wild, but they are still only three points out of a playoff berth. Boudreau was the eighth coach fired this season.