Rangers make third round of cuts, Staal and Girardi to debut in Jersey

Bobby Bevilacqua

Oscar Lindberg hi five line 9-21

Oscar Lindberg will start his fourth consecutive preseason game tonight in New Jersey. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

As Vigneault said, the Rangers continued to make their roster cuts, reducing to just over six forward lines, 12 defensemen and three goalies. With just three preseason games remaining, we’re in the final stretch of roster decisions.

The Rangers assigned five players to the Wolf Pack training camp. Marek Hrivik, Brett Bellemore, Adam Tambellini, Tommy Hughes and Jeff Malcolm all reported to Hartford for their camp.

This will be Tambellini’s first season in the AHL, and he’s one of my favorite prospects. I’m excited to see how he does this season. I’m also happy that Bellemore wasn’t cut from the roster completely. He was pretty good in the preseason game, and has some NHL experience, so it’s nice depth to have.

The Rangers will play their fourth preseason game tomorrow, taking on the Devils again, but this time they’ll be in Newark. With the “final audition” taking place for players, this is where we will really see the bottom six depth forwards begin to battle for the few roster spots, as well as a defensive battle for the seventh defenseman role.

This is the expected lineup for today’s matchup against the Devils:

Forwards                Defensemen               Goalies

JT Miller                     Dan Girardi                     Henrik Lundqvist (expected to start)

Tanner Glass              Marc Staal                       Antti Raanta

Kevin Hayes               Chris Summers

Luke Adam                 Dylan McIlrath

Jesper Fast                 Raphael Diaz

Chris Kreider              Mat Bodie

Derek Stepan

Jayson Megna

Oscar Lindberg

Viktor Stalberg

Dominic Moore

Emerson Etem

Dan Girardi and Marc Staal will be making their preseason debuts, with both of them seemingly healthy following surgeries this offseason. Both of the veteran defensemen had procedures for ankle injuries sustained during the playoffs. They’re massive parts of this team, and having them healthy will be extremely important and beneficial for the upcoming season.

marc staal passing 1-20

Marc Staal, as well as Dan Girardi, will be making their preseason debut tonight following offseason ankle procedures. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Another thing to take note of is the fact that Oscar Lindberg is playing his fourth consecutive game, the only Ranger to play in every preseason game. He has been really good so far, both with the puck, without the puck, on defense, at center or on the wing. He’s super versatile, and the organization knows that other teams are waiting to try and claim him off of waivers if it reaches that point. Lindberg will have every opportunity to make the team, and I really expect him to at this point.

Dylan McIlrath will look to continue a successful preseason and try to take the seventh defenseman spot from Raphael Diaz, who was assumed to be a lock for the spot heading into camp. But solid performances from McIlrath and Skjei could make Vigneault’s decision much more difficult. McIlrath is also on a one way deal, and this could be his last chance to make the Rangers roster.

Recently, AV said that Tanner Glass does not have a guaranteed roster spot. Which totally makes sense, because guys like Stalberg, Etem, Megna, Gibbons and Adam are all proving to be better and more effective than him. He’s fighting for a roster spot, as are all of these other players, and the next few games will be extremely important.

Vigneault also stated that for this game, Kevin Hayes and Dominic Moore will play on the wing. This is probably being done in order to see who fits best in what spot. Jarret Stoll and Oscar Lindberg are also centers, and are really being considered for a roster spot, so AV is trying to what works best, and who will play the third line center. That decision can impact how the rest of the roster shakes up.

dominic moore 3-14

Dominic Moore will shift from his preferred center position to the wing as the coaching staff tries to piece together the best possible lineup. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

There are a lot of interesting story lines heading into the game tonight, so be sure to watch on MSG at 7 PM.

Posted on September 26, 2015, in Game Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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