BREAKING: Rangers make final cuts, seemingly set opening night roster

Bobby Bevilacqua


Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers have announced what seems to be their final roster cuts this afternoon, trimming the roster down to a total of 24 players; consisting of 14 forwards, eight defensemen and two goalies.

Here’s the current roster;

Forwards (14): Pavel Buchnevich, Jesper Fast, Michael Grabner, Kevin Hayes, Josh Jooris, Chris Kreider, Oscar Lindberg, JT Miller, Rick Nash, Brandon Pirri, Derek Stepan, Jimmy Vesey, Mika Zibanejad, Mats Zuccarello

Defensemen (8): Adam Clendening, Dan Girardi, Nick Holden, Kevin Klein, Ryan McDonagh, Dylan McIlrath, Brady Skjei, Marc Staal

Goalies (2): Henrik Lundqvist, Antti Raanta

The Rangers have assigned Tanner Glass, Boo Nieves, Magnus Hellberg and Nathan Gerbe to Hartford (AHL). Gabriel Fontaine was sent back to juniors. Glass and Gerbe will have to clear waivers before they get to the Wolf Pack.

First off, hats off to Alain Vigneault and Jeff Gorton for correctly choosing the best forwards available. The fact that specifically Tanner Glass was sent to Hartford means that the coaching mindset may have turned a corner, and it’s great to see the team go with youth and skill over grit and veteran qualities.

Gerbe does apparently have options to sign in Sweden so there’s a very good chance that he winds up leaving Hartford and the Rangers organization. It’s a shame because he’s very versatile and would have been the 13th forward almost any other season, but he was outplayed by other forwards.

As for the forwards, they do have 14 right now but Oscar Lindberg will start the season on IR after hip surgery this offseason, so he’ll be out for the first four to six weeks it seems.

Alain Vigneault has said that he prefers to keep eight defenseman so there are four pairs in practice, and the team can afford to fit everyone under the salary cap this season. This would also allow him to evaluate Holden, Clendening, McIlrath and Skjei further and see who fares well in his system and against NHL talent.

However, after Brandon Pirri’s spectacular preseason there’s uncertainty about how the lines will shake up since the Rangers have so much talent among their forward group. And with the defense continuing to have problems, there’s a chance that a trade happens to add a defenseman and free up a spot for someone like Pirri. But that remains to be seen.

If this is the roster heading into opening night, I’m very pleased with how it looks. I’m still extremely concerned with the defense, because Clendening outplayed the likes of McDonagh, Girardi and Staal so it remains to be seen how they will play. But that forward group can contend with anybody, and it is full of talent and skill across all four lines.

The Rangers are definitely heading in the right direction, and it’ll be really exciting to see this team perform next Thursday against the Islanders.

Posted on October 7, 2016, in Rangers Updates, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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