As we wait for the big match up with the mighty Edmonton Oilers, it’s time for some miscellaneous thoughts about the New York Rangers and the NHL in general.
Could the Rangers have matched what the Buffalo Sabres got for Jack Eichel? The Sabres netted forwards Alex Tuch, Peyton Krebs along with a 2022 first round pick, and a 2023 second round pick. It’s certainly a deal that the Rangers could have equaled, but there was no way that the Sabres were going to trade Eichel to a team in the East, especially the Blueshirts. So, no regrets. We’ll see him occasionally for the Golden Knights and we wish him luck with his surgery. Thank goodness the speculating is over. .
Speaking of the Golden Knights, Brett Howden scored his first goal of the season in their 5-1 win over the Senators. With all of their injuries, he’s played in eight of their first 10 games, averaging just over 10 minutes per game. It was the game winner and it means he has scored more goals (non empty net) in his time with Vegas than he did last season for the Rangers in 42 games.
Another former Ranger, Pavel Buchnevich, also scored last night. He netted his second of the season in St. Louis’ 5-3 win over San Jose. He has two goals and one assist in seven games after sitting out a two-game suspension for head butting. He’s averaging 1:39 on the penalty kill.
Speaking of the penalty kill, the Rangers have been the best in the NHL over the last eight games, killing 27 of the last 28 penalties, a 96.4% efficiency rate. Overall, they are 86.1%, good for ninth best in the NHL.
Ryan Reaves is available to come of IR and that means a decision has to be made about Greg McKegg. If they want to send him back to Hartford, he has to clear waivers again and considering his work on the penalty kill, he may be vulnerable to a claim. It’s clear that he is valued by Gerard Gallant, but someone has to come off the roster when Reaves comes back. The only waiver exempt player who could go to Hartford is Nils Lundkvist. The other options are Julien Gauthier and Libor Hajek who have to clear waivers.
The Rangers signed big center Matt Rempe, 19, to an Entry Level Contract.
Rempe, a center, was picked in the sixth round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft (#165). He’s a big kid at 6’7″, 207 pound and impressed at the prospects camp and showed a willingness to drop the gloves. He’s playing for the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL where he has four goals in 10 games.
With Rempe signed, the Rangers have 45 players under contract, five under the maximum. They have four drafted players left who need to be signed by June 1, 2022 or they will become free agents. They are goalies Dylan Garand and Olof Lindbom, defenseman Jacob Ragnarsson and forward Evan Vierling.
Marian Gaborik announced his retirement. What??? He last played in 2017-18, but has been on injured reserve after herniated disc surgery in 2018. While injured he was traded from the Kings to the Senators to the Lightning as he was the poster child for salary cap manipulation.
He played three and a half seasons for the Rangers and was one of the most gifted natural goal scorers to ever wear the Blueshirts jersey, topping the 40 goal mark twice. He ran afoul of John Tortorella and was traded to Columbus, but got his revenge in 2014 when he led the Kings with 15 playoff goals en route to the Stanley Cup championship over the Rangers.
The Hartford Wolf Pack are off to a good start with a 5-2-1 record, good for third place in the Atlantic Division. The leading scorers are Jonny Brodzinski and Anthony Greco with eight points each. Morgan Barron missed some games due to his call up to the Rangers and has three goals and four points in five games. Tarmo Reunanen leads all defensemen in scoring with four assists with Zac Jones behind him with three assists. Keith Kinkaid has been spectacular with a 1.73 GAA and .943 Sv% and a 4-0-1 record. Though Adam Huska has taken the two losses he has a 2.02 GAA and .932 Sv%.
Vitali Kravtsov could see action in his first KHL game when Traktor takes on Barys today.
The team’s GM, Ivan Savin told Sport24 “We are glad that we managed to come to an agreement with the Rangers and that Vitaly is returning to Traktor. Of course, he will strengthen our line of attack and this season will bring a lot of benefits to our home team. I am sure that Chelyabinsk fans will welcome him warmly,.”
The Carolina Hurricanes took some heat for signing Tony DeAngelo, but it looks like a very smart move. He has stepped into the slot vacated by Dougie Hamilton and has two goals and 10 points in nine games along with a sparkling plus/minus rating of +11, best in the NHL. He had the Gordie Howe hat trick against the Blackhawks.
He also mocked the story that he stole the puck when K’Andre Miller scored his first NHL goal last season. In an Instagram post he said “I didn’t steal the puck!” when congratulating Seth Jarvis on his first NHL goal. Other than that, he’s behaved himself and is not tweeting. Good for him, but let’s just say it’s early.
While the Hurricanes and Florida Panthers have jumped out to big leads in the standings early, it looks like the Eastern Conference playoff battle will be a dogfight with 12 teams are within five points of each other. The Rangers are third in the Conference with 14 points, but six teams below them have games in hand. The best news is that their 11 road points lead the NHL.
Gerard Gallant has always gotten off to good starts when taking over as coach. In his first year as Columbus coach he had a 4-3-3 record and 11 points in his first 10 games. With Florida, he was 4-2-4 with 12 points and in Vegas he was 8-2-0 for 16 points.