Mats Zuccarello Named Alternate Captain

The New York Rangers will have at least one change among their leadership group this season as it was announced that Mats Zuccarello has been named an alternate captain.

Michael Grabner: Back-to-Back or Back to Earth?

It’s hard to think of a better value player in the NHL last season than Michael Grabner. Signed to a two-year contract worth just $1.65M per season in the summer of 2016, Grabner went on to have a resurgent first year for the New York Rangers, scoring 27 goals. That was enough to place him in second on the squad, just one shy of Chris Kreider’s 28.

Before signing in New York, Grabner spent the previous season with the Toronto Maple Leafs—the NHL’s worst team (69 points)—after being traded by the New York Islanders in September of 2015. He had just nine goals with the Leafs over a nearly full 80-game season. If you knew nothing about Michael Grabner, you might have questioned what any team saw in a 28-year old player coming off an 18-point season for the worst team in the league. But the Rangers, who have made discount shopping a key element of their free agent strategy for years now, saw more.

Chytil, DeAngelo and Carey Survive as Rangers Make Final Roster Cuts

The New York Rangers have made final cuts to the roster heading into the regular season. For now it seems as if Anthony DeAngelo, Filip Chytil and Paul Carey will make the team for opening night. Among the surprising cuts are Vinni Lettieri and Neal Pionk who had good showings in the preseason and will likely be looked at over the course of the season if they can maintain their play in Hartford.

For Rangers' Rookies, a Timeshare at Center Might be the Answer

As training camp started, New York Rangers’ head coach Alain Vigneault surprised fans by announcing that J.T. Miller was being moved back to center after having a career-best 56 points playing on Kevin Hayes’ wing last year. But now, thanks to the pre-season performance of a couple teenagers, Vigneault has chosen to put Miller back on the wing.

“With J.T. we wanted to give him a little bit more experience by starting him [at center],” Vigneault said after Monday’s overtime win against Philadelphia. “But right now in my mind, with the performance of a few of our guys down the middle, J.T.’s going to start on the wing.”

While Vigneault didn’t explicitly say who he was talking about, we can make a fair assumption that he’s referring to first-round rookies Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil. He’s consistently praised them and, after the Flyers game, also noted that “Chytil and Andersson definitely caught my attention with their skill set, their skating ability, their hockey smarts.”

Bereglazov, Gropp, Pedrie Among Additional Cuts

The Rangers are now down to 38 players left in Training Camp after announcing this afternoon that they’ve assigned three forwards, three defensemen, and two goaltenders to the Hartford Wolf Pack:

Rangers Cut Day, Zborovskiy, Leedahl from Training Camp

As the New York Rangers continue to whittle away at their 2017 Training Camp roster, the announcement was made this afternoon that defensemen Sean Day and Sergey Zborovskiy, as well as forward Dawson Leedahl, have been assigned to the Hartford Wolf Pack.

Thoughts on the First Preseason Game

The Rangers took on the New York Islanders in the first preseason game of the 2017-2018 season last night. They won 1-0 in overtime when Neal Pionk caught the Islanders tired and flat-footed, did a Brian Campbell-esque spin-o-rama around Brock Nelson, and put it right through the goalie.

Here are some of my thoughts on what I saw:

  • First and foremost, the Rangers’ coaching staff will have a lot of tough decisions to make on defense. We knew this going in, but now it’s being borne out during the preseason games. Anthony DeAngelo stood out as one of the most active defensemen of the game. He made some nice plays with the puck, was solid in front of his own net, and used his above average skating ability to wheel the puck out of the zone on a few occasions. Neal Pionk also had a good game. Excluding the goal, which was nice, he made good decisions with the puck, wasn’t afraid to shoot the puck from the point, and overall had a solid game. Both DeAngelo and Pionk had four shots on goal.

The Hungry and the Hopeful — A Look at Forwards in Training Camp

New York Rangers 2017 Training Camp began today with player physical tests and head coach Alain Vigneault’s media availability. This season’s edition of training camp brings some interesting storylines in the form of roster openings due to the moves made during the offseason. Most notably, the Rangers traded center Derek Stepan to the Arizona Coyotes forcing the Rangers to bump Mika Zibanejad and Kevin Hayes up the center depth chart. Oscar Lindberg was claimed by the Las Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL Expansion Draft. Jesper Fast underwent hip surgery in June that is expected to keep him out until late October. And, just as training camp began, J.T. Miller was confirmed to start the season as a center, filling the third line center role.

Rangers Invite Andrew Desjardins To Camp on PTO

Larry Brooks of the New York Post reported Wednesday morning that the Rangers invited center Andrew Desjardins to training camp on a PTO:

Weighing an Andreas Athanasiou Offer Sheet

Since Artem Anisimov was traded, the New York Rangers have had an alliterative alphabetical hole at the top of their lineup. Now, with Andreas Athanasiou’s contract with the Red Wings in limbo and rumors swirling that he’s headed to the KHL, the idea of signing him to an offer sheet and sending a pick to Detroit is being kicked around. However, whether or not Rangers GM Jeff Gorton should pursue him is debatable, despite Athanasiou’s upside.