New York Rangers

Predicting the Rangers Final Roster

Yesterday the Rangers made another round of cuts that got them down to 29 players remaining in camp. Those players are:

  • Forwards (18): Pavel Buchnevich, Jesper Fast, Gabriel Fontaine, Nathan Gerbe, Tanner Glass, Michael Grabner, Kevin Hayes, Josh Jooris, Chris Kreider, Oscar Lindberg, J.T. Miller, Rick Nash, Cristoval “Boo” Nieves, Brandon Pirri, Derek Stepan, Jimmy Vesey, Mika Zibanejad, Mats Zuccarello
  • Defense (8): Adam Clendening, Dan Girardi, Nick Holden, Kevin Klein, Ryan McDonagh, Dylan McIlrath, Brady Skjei, Marc Staal
  • Goalies (3): Magnus Hellberg, Henrik Lundqvist, Antti Raanta

Before we discuss the rosters, let’s get two things out of the way. One, Hellberg is only here to sit on the bench at tonight’s game. The two goalies are set. Two, Fontaine and Nieves are injured so don’t really count as being in camp. I have no idea why injured players are the last taken off the roster but they always are. You can also include Jooris on this list but I have a feeling he would still be here either way.

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about some surprises. I am a little surprised Marek Hrivik didn’t make it past this cut. I thought he had been playing well and mix that with the praise he received from Vigneault the other night, something doesn’t really make sense. And I figured it would be Skapski staying instead of Hellberg, but I guess they wanted Skapski in the Wolf Pack camp from the start. A few were also surprised Niklas Jensen and Mat Bodie were cut so early but neither of them were making the team so those cuts were inevitable. All other cuts this week were pretty much expected.

That leaves us with 29 players. Teams are only allowed to have a maximum of 23, depending on cap situation. For once, that doesn’t appear to be an issue for the Rangers so let’s assume they plan to keep 23. As mentioned before, Hellberg, Fontaine and Nieves are gone so that brings us to 26. Jooris and Lindberg aren’t healthy so now we’re technically down to 24. (I’m assuming both will be put on IR so they will count against the cap but not against the roster numbers.)

That pretty much means there is one or two cuts left. Personally, I think Vigneault wants to keep eight defensemen. One, he’s always said he prefers that. Two, I really don’t think he know who to cut at this point because everyone except Skjei would need waivers and I don’t think he wants to lose anyone. I do think you will see a trade for one of those eight early in the season but all eight will still be here a week from now.

Up front, to me it’s pretty obvious. It’s no secret Vigneault likes Tanner Glass but I just don’t see a spot for him at the moment. He didn’t have one at this point last year either and worked his way into one. If he were to play in New York, I think he’ll have to do that again.

Honestly, I still don’t completely understand what Grabner’s role will be either but I think he has a better chance of being here than Glass does. The only other option is if the coaching staff thinks Buchnevich or Vesey would be better served starting in the AHL, although not sure that’s really an option for either of them. (Believe Vesey was guaranteed a spot and Buchnevich has an out clause to return to KHL if sent down.)

Keeping all of that in mind, here is what I think the roster will look like one week from today:

  • Forwards (13): Pavel Buchnevich, Jesper Fast, Nathan Gerbe, Michael Grabner, Kevin Hayes, Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller, Rick Nash, Brandon Pirri, Derek Stepan, Jimmy Vesey, Mika Zibanejad, Mats Zuccarello
  • Defense (8): Adam Clendening, Dan Girardi, Nick Holden, Kevin Klein, Ryan McDonagh, Dylan McIlrath, Brady Skjei, Marc Staal
  • Goalies (2): Henrik Lundqvist, Antti Raanta
  • IR (2): Josh Jooris, Oscar Lindberg

That would put them at roughly $71.5 million in cap which still leaves them some wiggle room for the rest of the season. Is it possible they cut one more defenseman? Yes. Do I have any idea who that would be? Not a clue so I’m sticking with all eight. (If I had to pick, I’m not sure I like McIlrath’s chances.)

Guessing we’ll find out tomorrow if there are any surprises in store.

 

(Photo: Melissa Andus)

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