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Rangers Recap: Observations following the preseason opener

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-celebrate-a-goal-zib-kreids-9-27

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers opened their preseason games with a bang, securing a 5-2 win in a pretty dominant outing over the New York Islanders. There were a lot of positives to take from this game despite it being against a split Islanders squad.

The offseason moves seem to already paying off, and the Rangers played differently than they did last year based on their personnel. For the preseason I won’t be doing goal breakdowns or a period-by-period summary, but instead a bullet list with observations.

  • It’s too early to tell for sure because it’s only been one game, but the team played differently. Last year, speed was noticeably lacking and the team didn’t have an identity. The offseason moves made show that the team is looking for speed and youth. There was a lot of excellent transition, puck movement and breakaways, and I’m excited to see this team come together on the final roster.

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McIlrath, Lindberg proving their worth, lineup for final preseason game

Bobby Bevilacqua

Dylan McIlrath and Oscar Lindberg collage

Dylan McIlrath and Oscar Lindberg are two rookies who are seriously pushing for am opening night roster spot. Photos courtesy of MSG Photos.

It’s going to be very tough for Alain Vigneault to go against the youth movement for this upcoming season.

Like Anthony Duclair did last season in training camp, Oscar Lindberg and Dylan McIlrath, both rookies, have opened the eyes of the coaching staff, make a significant case for them to be on the opening night roster.

The strong performances from many of the youngsters has Vigneault perplexed too, stating that he has not finalized the roster heading into the final preseason game tonight against the Boston Bruins.

“I can tell you right now we have not come up with a definite answer yet,” Vigneault told Blueshirts United. “These are all questions we are right now debating within our group. This player brings this element, this player brings that element. How do we look with a certain guy in the lineup? Young versus older? We’re working through the process and I can tell you right now we haven’t come up with a definite answer on any of those things.” Read the rest of this entry

Rangers set lineup for preseason clash with Philly, Glass and Megna scratched

Bobby Bevilacqua

Rangers celebrate a goal 9-21

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers have announced the starting lineup for tonight’s game at Madison Square Garden after making some significant roster cuts, leaving the team with just 15 forwards and eight defensemen.

Here were the lines from the morning skate, and the expected lineup for tonight.

Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Rick Nash

JT Miller-Derick Brassard-Mats Zuccarello

Jesper Fast-Kevin Hayes-Viktor Stalberg

Jarret Stoll-Dominic Moore-Emerson Etem

Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi

Marc Staal-Dan Boyle

Keith Yandle-Dylan McIlrath

Antti Raanta Read the rest of this entry

Rangers continue with fourth round of cuts, Raanta designated as backup

Bobby Bevilacqua

raphael diaz hi five line

Raphael Diaz is one of the players that has made the final roster cuts. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

The Rangers made a few more significant cuts following their win over the New Jersey Devils, cutting down the roster to just 25 players; 15 forwards, eight defenseman and two goalies. Vigneault will have to cut two more forwards and likely one defenseman.

The Rangers reassigned Luke Adam, Ryan Bourque, Brian Gibbons, Ryan Graves, Chris Summers, Mat Bodie, Brady Skjei and Magnus Hellberg, and they will report to Hartford’s training camp.

Vigneault’s latest roster moves means that we’re in the final stages of the cuts. Dylan McIlrath is still fighting for a spot and Jayson Megna, Oscar Lindberg and Jarret Stoll are still looking to get Tanner Glass out of the lineup. Read the rest of this entry

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. Read the rest of this entry