Rangers Cut Five More + Tonight’s Roster

The Rangers had said they were going to cut down to 18 forwards and 9-10 defensemen after their game in Boston. They lied as they only cut five players leaving them with 19 forwards and 12 defensemen (and three goalies). Yesterday, forwards Marek Hrivik and Adam Tambellini, defensemen Brett Bellemore and Tommy Hughes as well as goaltender Jeff Malcolm were sent to Hartford. I was close in my guess who would be included as only name on that list I didn’t have was Hrivik.

Those cuts left 34 players in camp. Vigneault said he would cut to below 30 after tonight’s game in New Jersey. Guessing some of it will depend on how guys playing tonight do but probably not a good sign for a few players not in the lineup tonight.

Speaking of tonight’s lineup, the last two veterans finally make their debuts as Dan Girardi and Marc Staal will be in the lineup. They, along with Ryan McDonagh and Mats Zuccarello, took their testing earlier in the week and both said they were ready to go. Hopefully they have as much jump as the latter two did.

The rest of the lineup will be as follows:

Goalies: Henrik Lundqvist and Antti Raanta

Defensemen: Mat Bodie, Raphael Diaz, Dan Girardi, Dylan McIlrath, Marc Staal, Chris Summers

Forwards: Luke Adam, Emerson Etem, Jesper Fast, Tanner Glass, Kevin Hayes, Chris Kreider, Oscar Lindberg, Jayson Megna, J.T. Miller, Dominic Moore, Viktor Stalberg, Derek Stepan

You will notice there are technically seven centers listed in that lineup. J.T. Miller has played exclusively on wing (and is expected to again as he plays with Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider). So who are the other two who will be on wing tonight? Kevin Hayes and Dominic Moore. Vigneault has said he will try different things and to me these two make a lot of sense. There is a very good chance Moore and Jarret Stoll will end up on the same line. If that happens, only one can play center. Might as well see which one is better at wing.

As for Hayes, many expected him to have the first crack at replacing St. Louis. Fortunately for Miller, Vigneault liked what he saw at the end of last year and in the playoffs so is giving him the first shot. The other thing in Miller’s favor so far? Hayes has been bad this preseason. I’ve touched on it in recaps of both games he played but Vigneault flat out said he needs to be better:

“I’m expecting more from his game so far,” the coach said. “I understand it’s training camp, but Kevin needs to pick up his play a little bit.”

Challenge given. Will it be accepted? We’ll find out tonight.

**********

Speaking of St. Louis, Vigneault was finally asked yesterday if he planned to replace his A this season or just stick with three. The coach told the media that after speaking with McDonagh at the start of training camp, they don’t think another A is necessary. It’s possible someone comes out and earns that later in the season but for now it looks like they are sticking with just three. I said before camp started that I didn’t know which route they would go and either would make sense. Now my only question is how will the rotation work? Will one guy get a permanent A with the other two rotating or will it be a three way rotation? Guess we’ll find out soon enough.

 

(Photo: Melissa Andus)

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