Seven Rangers on the waiver wire

Today is the day for roster decisions and the New York Rangers placed seven players on waivers

This is the deadline for NHL teams to finalize their rosters for the regular season.  That means if they want to re-assign players to the new taxi squads or the minor leagues, they need to pass through waivers.  There will be a number of players waived today and seven New York Rangers are on the list.

How waivers work

Once a player has played a certain number of games in the NHL, he must clear waivers to be sent to the AHL.  All 30 teams have the opportunity to put in a waiver claim on such a player. If more than one team claims a player the team with the worse points percentage gets him.

Once a player passes through waivers, he doesn’t have to clear waivers again if he is promoted until he has played 10 NHL games or has been on the NHL roster for 30 days.

Players on the taxi squad will be treated as if they are in the AHL.  They need to clear waivers if they are assigned to the taxi squad the first time and again after they play in 10 games.

The Rangers’ situation

21 Rangers players would have to go through waivers to be sent down, but 12 of them are locks to be in the starting lineup, with the names ranging from Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad to Kevin Rooney and Jack Johnson.   In reality, there were eight players who could have had to pass through waivers.

The list does provide a hint at what the final roster will look like. Here are the seven players:

Tony Bitetto
Colin Blackwell
Jonny Brodzinski
Gabriel Fontaine
Brandon Crawley
Anthony Greco
Keith Kinkaid

The one player on the cusp who is not on the list is Phil Di Giuseppe so it appears that he may have made the team as a spare forward.   The fourth line was the only line that was up in the air and by waiving Blackwell and Greco, it could mean that the contenders that remain are Rooney, Lemieux, Di Giuseppe and Brett Howden.

Players on Entry Level Contracts like Morgan Barron, Patrick Khodorenko, Austin Rueschhoff and Tim Gettinger are waivers exempt so they are still candidates for the fourth line, the taxi squad or Hartford.

The two defensemen on the waiver list are Tony Bitetto and Brandon Crawley.  Waiver exempt defensemen include Darren Raddysh, Lbor Hajek, Matthew Robertson and Tarmo Reunanen.

From the list it looks like Brendan Smith and Jack Johnson will both be on the NHL roster. It’s likely that several of the players on the waiver list are destined for the taxi squad including Blackwell and Bitetto.  The taxi squad can include four to six players along with one mandatory goalie.  Their salaries don’t impact the Salary Cap.

It will be interesting to see if any teams put in a waiver claim.  The Devils are in the market for a goalie and will be combing the waiver lists.  There’s no doubt that the Rangers will be looking to see if they can find a gem somewhere, while recognizing that there are still salary cap issues.  There are some interesting names on the waiver wire including Tyler Johnson of Tampa, Luca Sbisa of Winnipeg, Zac Rinaldo of Calgary and Samuel Morin of the Flyers.

The more things change….

The 2021 Rangers are going to be very much the same team that played at the end of the season and lost to the  Carolina Hurricanes in August.  Brendan Smith will probably be a seventh defenseman and spare forward.

At forward, subtract Jesper Fast and Greg McKegg and insert Alexis Lafrenière and Kevin Rooney.

On defense, it’s K’Andre Miller for Brendan Smith and Jack Johnson for Marc Staal.

The question remains, will this be a better team?  At first look, absolutely, but will it be enough to get them into the postseason?   We’ll see starting Thursday.