Analyzing the “final’ roster & taxi squad

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The New York Rangers celebrate (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The New  York Rangers released their active roster and the taxi squad

Now we know who will take the ice when the New York Ranger host the Islanders on Thursday  night.  The team released the names late Tuesday and there were virtually no surprises.

They will be carrying 22 players on the roster, one under the maximum 23.  They have the full complement of six players on the taxi squad. Remember, the team is allowed to dress only 20 players for each game so that means two players on the roster will be watching from the press box with the taxi squad.

The forwards

We’ve been talking about the fact that the top three lines are set.   Mika Zibanejad will center Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich on the first line.  Ryan Strome is the pivot for Artemi Panarin and Kaapo Kakko.   The third line is the “kid line” with 21-year-old Filip Chytil centering for 19-year-old Alexis Lafrenière and old timer, 23-year-old Julien Gauthier.

The fourth line is the question mark with the candidates Brett Howden, Brendan Lemieux, Phil Di Giuseppe and Kevin Rooney.

Any questions will be answered if Zibanejad, who is still recovering from a bout with COVID-19, is unable to play. In that case Brett Howden will move up to the top line.   If Zibanejad plays, considering that the Rangers signed Kevin Rooney to help with the penalty kill, we will probably see Di Giuseppe on the sideines.

In his comments after practice on Monday, Zibanejad didn’t sound sure that he would play, saying he was taking it day-by-day.

The defense

The worst kept secret in Rangerland is that K’Andre Miller will be starting the season on the left side of Jacob Trouba.  Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren are joined at the hip and the roommates will be inseparable this season.  Finally, the third pairing in Tony DeAngelo on the right side of Marc Staal redux, new Ranger Jack Johnson.

That means that Brendan Smith will be the other healthy scratch and that should suit Ranger fans just fine.

The only variable is if Quinn wants to insert some more “grit” into the lineup against the Islanders and in that case he could insert Smith.  That’s not likely, but possible.

The goalies

No surprises here, it’s Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev.  It looks like Shesterkin won the top slot in training camp, but no one on the team is saying that.   We’ll see who starts on Thursday.

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