The New York Rangers badly need a win and the Philadelphia Flyers are providing the perfect scenario as they will be without six players from their regular starting lineup. The Flyers will be without Justin Braun, Morgan Frost, Claude Giroux, Travis Konecny, Scott Laughton, Oskar Lindblom and Jakub Voracek. All of those players are the NHL’s COVID protocol list and cannot practice or play.
The Rangers will be without Jacob Trouba, but will be getting Artemi Panarin and K’Andre Miller back. The Blueshirts really have no excuse tonight. Despite the Flyers position in the standings, they are crippled and have been scoring at an unearthly shooting percentage of 14.3%.
The Flyers will come out playing hard as they haven’t had a game in 11 days and the Blueshirts know how that works since they were run over by the Devils in the first period on Tuesday. Hopefully, they learned a lesson.
The Rangers will reveal who will be in goal just before game time.
It may mean nothing, but the trade rumors are swirling around underachieving teams. Once again, Jack Eichel is a subject of some discussion, mostly likely unfounded. He has never said that he wants to leave Buffalo, he’s just expressed frustration with losing.
The other team heating up the trade rumors is Nashville. The Predators are in seventh place in the Central Division, a full nine points out of a playoff spot. The top names on the rumor list are centers Matt Duchene and Ryan Johansen. Both players have an $8 million annual cap hit and are off to unimpressive starts. The Rangers have been mentioned as potential trade partners, but if the deal is nothing more than a change of scenery transaction, the Rangers may not bite.
Duchene was not great in his first year in Nashville after signing the big contract and the 30 year old has five more years on his deal. This season he has scored three goals and totaled eight points in 15 games.
Ryan Johansen is on injured reserve with an upper body injury and had only four assists in ten games this year. He has not scored more than 15 goals in a season in his four years in Nashville, nowhere near the 33 goals he scored as a 21 year old with Columbus. He is 28 so he is younger than Duchene and is under contract through 2025.
One factor in their favor is that both Duchene and Johansen are excellent faceoff men, a dire need for the Blueshirts.
The Rangers have cap issues as do the Predators so how a deal would work is a mystery.
Projected starting lineups
New York Rangers
20 Kreider– 93 Zibanejad – 89 Buchnevich
10 Panarin – 16 Strome – 24 Kakko
13 Lafrenière – 14 Howden– 43 Blackwell
48 Lemieux – 17 Rooney– 33 Di Giuseppe
55 Lindgren – 23 Fox
79 Miller – 42 Smith
25 Hajek – 22 Bitetto
25 James Van Riemsdyk – 14 Sean Couturier – 86 Joel Farabee
12 Michael Raffl – 13 Kevin Hayes – 62 – Nicolas Aube-Kubel
82 Connor Bunnaman – 19 Nolan Patrick – 72 David Kase
55 Samuel Morin – 10 Andy Andreoff – 64 Maxim Sushko
9 Ivan Provorov – 5 Philippe Myers
6 Travis Sanheim – 53 Shayne Gostisbehere
8 Robert Hagg – 56 Erik Gustafsson
79 Carter Hart
37 Brian Elliott
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