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Rangers take on Isles as final roster decisions are made

Bobby Bevilacqua

marc-staal-defending-9-27

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers lost in Philadelphia last night in overtime after coming back from three goals down in the third period. It was a chippy affair with physical play, good defense and also some great periods of offense and scoring.

They play again tonight against the Islanders in Brooklyn. Here are the lineups;

JT Miller-Kevin Hayes-Nicklas Jensen

Chris Kreider-Mika Zibanejad-Brandon Pirri

Michael Grabner-Nathan Gerbe-Jesper Fast

Tanner Glass-Marek Hrivik-Robin Kovacs

Marc Staal-Kevin Klein

Brady Skjei-Adam Clendening

John Gilmour-Dylan McIlrath

Antti Raanta

Magnus Hellberg

JT Miller gets a chance with Kevin Hayes now after a decent outing last night. He made a great pass on Ryan Graves’ goal and the Rangers want him to play a big part this season after signing him to a two year, $5.5 million contract this offseason. Nicklas Jenser also gets a chance on this line for a potential third line role, and this game is likely make-or-break for him.

Brandon Pirri scored again yesterday and continues to pad his stats with four goals and two assists in the preseason. He should make the team, no exceptions. He might be lacking in some departments but he shoots and shoots until the puck goes in. He’ll get a chance to show AV that he can produce in a top-six role tonight. His playstyle has been really nice to see, as the Rangers have needed a shoot-first goal scorer for quite some time.

Watch that third line tonight because this could very much be the fourth line to start the season. Grabner is a versatile, speedy forward and we know what Fast is capable of. Gerbe is the question mark because he is coming off of an injury-plagued season. He’s capable of playing a strong two-way game, he’s good on the penalty kill and has been able to score in the past. With Jooris out, Gerbe could be an effective fourth liner for AV.

The battle for the defenseman spot continues with Skjei, McIlrath and Clendening all playing tonight. I personally think Clendening has earned a spot on the opening night roster, but the other spot is up for grabs. Skjei was expected to make the team out of camp, but he has struggled a bit and might benefit from starting with the Wolf Pack. We’ll see how this shakes out but it’s a very interesting battle.

John Gilmour has had an eye-opening preseason so far, so it’ll also be fun to watch him again. He won’t make the team but this was another good NCAA free agent signing by Jeff Gorton.

Following this game, you can expect some major cuts to the roster either tonight or tomorrow.

The Rangers and Islanders play at 7 PM on MSG+.

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Posted on October 4, 2016, in Game Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. My biggest concern is will AV give the younger guys like Vesey and Buchnivech a good chance to play. He can’t stick them down on the 4th line like he did with Duclair. I realize it’s gonna. E a tough decision with all the forwards we have this year but that’s a good problem to have at least. I also think with the lack of defense we have this year AV may be forced to go with the forwards that are able to play more of a two way game. I wonder what that does for a guy like Pirri. It seems strange to be worrying about the defense since it was only a few years ago when the Rangers had one of if not the best defense in the league. Let’s hope they can have much better puck possession this year so that we don’t have to defend as much.

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    • All great points. AV has spoken highly about Buchnevich and Vesey which makes me hopeful that they’ll wind up playing top 9 minutes and get developed properly. Pirri is in a tough spot because of the amount of quality forwards on the Rangers but it’s a good problem for NYR to have too much talent. I think since there’s so many good forwards we could see a trade for defense sometime during the season

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