Derek Stepan looks good to go for Saturday, Rangers send Chris Mueller back to Hartford
The Rangers have reassigned center, Chris Mueller back to the AHL to make room for the return of Derek Stepan.
Chris Mueller re-assigned to Hartford (AHL). Sure sign Derek Sepan will play Saturday at Toronto
— Andrew Gross (@AGrossRecord) November 6, 2014
This move also signifies the Rangers are very comfortable with both Anthony Duclair and Kevin Hayes in the lineup. What is concerning is the lack of minutes they will be getting going forward. Kevin Hayes, who will likely land on the 4th line will take the biggest hit.
It certainly makes you wonder how that will affect their development. However, as we learned, health is a fragile thing in the NHL and at any point and time, either could be thrusted into much larger roles again.
Another concern is cap space. Sending down Mueller alone will not suffice, so are the Rangers going to put Ryan McDonagh on LTIR as well? If not, someone else needs to go.
All fingers point to Ryan Malone who has already cleared waivers. That leaves the Rangers with no spare forward if they choose not to put McDonagh on LTIR for cap relief.
Still, the reinsertion of Stepan into the lineup will help the Rangers. Andrew Gross of the Bergen Record wrote, “I’m hoping to have a more stable lines, whether it be duos or lines or D-pairs,” Vigneault said before Wednesday’s game. “I think we’re a better group when we get stability there. I haven’t been able to find that stability yet.”