Today the New York Rangers announced their final cuts as the team begins to practice for the regular season. You might notice that Lias is out, Howden is in, they’re carrying 8 D and Georgiev won the back up battle.
What does this all mean? I’ll break it down for you.
Obviously the big news here is that Lias Andersson has been sent down to the Wolf Pack. While most of us wanted to see him play in New York, the Rangers want to see him play way more than 8-12 minutes a night because that’s what he would’ve gotten if he stayed. Lias has only played 25 games at the professional level and still needs time to develop. Would I want to see him wearing blue? Absolutely, but we got to think long term here. The Rangers aren’t going to be cup contenders for the next few years so I am completely okay with Lias spending time developing his skills and adjusting to the North American style of play.
Kreider – Zibanejad – Buchnevich
KZB is back baby and it should be fun to watch. Buchnevich and Kreider, IMO, will blossom into the players they should be under a new coach. Kreider is at his best when he is playing with an edge and Buchnevich will finally be allowed to make a mistake. Early candidate for tweet of the year?
Zibanejad is looking to build off of last years performance and I think he will. If Mika can stay healthy, and this line can remain consistent, this will be a line that should dominate possession with tons of speed and tons of creativity.
Vesey – Hayes – Zuccarello
Zuccarello had a maintenance day today so everyone who actually thinks Cody McLeod is going to be a second line player should probably just never watch hockey again. This line is an interesting one. Kevin Hayes is coming off the best season of his career and Zuccarello is almost always automatic for 60 points. Vesey is being given a huge opportunity to step up. It’s sink or swim time for Jimbo and playing with the two players who have the best vision on the team is a recipe for success.
Spooner – Chytil – Fast
Fuckin’ rights we are going to have Filip Chytil for a full year. This line gives me all sorts of goosebumps.
Why? Ryan Spooner is a legit play maker. He can go invisible at times, but for the most part he is very good at creating something out of nothing. Jesper Fast is a relentless work horse who has one speed and that speed is go. While causing havoc on the forecheck can create offense, Fast is one of the teams best defensive players. Putting Chytil with Spooner and Fast will allow Chytil to wheel and deal, make mistakes, but more importantly learn from them.
Namestnikov – Howden – Lettieri
Can you believe this is a fourth line? The days of having Ortmeyer, Betts and Ward out there are over and are now being replaced with lines like these. Namestnikov is incredibly talented and can play with an edge. Howden is a player that I believe will be a serviceable NHL player for a long ass time. As much as it sucks to lose Andersson, I am JAZZZED up about watching Howden play. He’s big, he can skate, can be a bit of a playmaker and will work his bag off.
Lastly, quick shoutout to Vinni Lettieri. I’m always an underdog kind of guy and Lettieri proved plenty of people wrong this year, including myself. Will he stick? I sure hope so, kid has a ton of heart and you never have to wonder what hes going to do with the puck (he’s going to shoot, that’s what).
Skeji – McQuaid
If you listen to our podcast you know Hal is a big Quaider guy. He’ll be the first guy to tell you that Adam McQuaid is a big part of Torey Krugs success. Now, I know Brady Skeji isn’t Torey Krug but I am all about this. Skeji should be able to join the rush more with a strong stay at home defenseman to back him up. I think McQuaid is going to be a presence for the Rangers moving forward as they continue to rebuild.
Shattenkirk – Smith
Smitty had a great camp and Shatty has been so-so. One thing you won’t have to question about this pairing is battle level. Shattenkirk and Smith will win loose pucks, get in the corners and both can make a quality first pass. It’s nice to see Brendan Smith playing good hockey again. He’s this teams Kevin Klein and everyone knows how much I fucking loved that guy.
Pionk – Staal
DeAngelo – Claesson
I’m going to say this now and I won’t bring it up again. If Marc Staal is still in the lineup by Christmas then he must have something pretty fucked up on the Rangers or upper management. I keep reading that Quinn will not award playing time because of past experience and we can only hope that is true. Marc Staal is the worst defenseman in the NHL and I’m not afraid to say it. Ideally, I’d like to see DeAngelo and Pionk play together. Yes, I’m aware that they are both young defenseman but the Rangers are in a rebuild and that is something that could grow through time.
Henrik Lundqvist and Alexandar Georgiev
The king will be back in the pipes and shoutout to Georgiev for making the big club. He wasn’t out of place at all during the preseason and it’s nice that Hank will have a serviceable back up. Georgiev, by the way was undrafted. The Rangers have had good luck finding backups for Henrik and for goalies as a whole. Love you Beniot Allaire.
So there you have it, your 2018-2019 New York Rangers. Will they be good? Who knows. I have them as a sleeper playoff team but for the first time in forever it doesn’t really matter. The Rangers will battle this year which will be something new and something we haven’t seen for 2 years. Fuck off AV.