Expect the unexpected this Rangers training camp
It’s here! The Rangers will open training camp today with medical tests and start skating tomorrow. So as the players and coaches prepare for the 2017-18 season, here are a few thoughts before blades touch ice.
Expect the Unexpected
It’s a new season and a new roster. Two major changes that will have a resonating impact on the squad all year are the removals of Derek Stepan and Dan Girardi from the roster. While training camps are usually supposed to be about looking at the kids and maybe filling out your 4th line or identifying your 7th D-man, this could be different.
Mixing and Matching Defense Pairs
Almost everyone believes that Kevin Shattenkirk will play with Ryan McDonagh. Expect Alain Vigneault to basically try him with everyone. This also includes Marc Staal, which will send half the Rangers fanbase into a frenzy. Ultimately he lands with McDonagh to start the season….so relax.
However, throughout the exhibition contests the bottom pairing should basically consist of Anthony Deangelo, Sean Day, Neal Pionk, and Alexei Bereglazov. The Rangers need to see who will shine here and slide into Nick Holden‘s spot once he’s finally traded. The smart money is on Deangelo, but anyone of the others may surprise and take the spot.
A Player from Hartford Will Impress
Yes, the Rangers have brought in veterans David Desharnais and now Andrew Desjardins to compete for the 3rd and 4th line center spots. Sure, all eyes will be on 1st round picks Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil. Yet, a player from Hartford will put his best foot forward.
Boo Nieves, and Adam Tambellini are each poised to make a lasting impression at camp. Who knows, maybe one of them will surprise the coaching staff to the point of giving one of them a center spot for opening night. Another player too watch is winger, Ty Ronning. Jesper Fast will miss the start of the season, this kid has the pedigree to be a heck of an NHL player. His dad played for the Canucks against the Rangers in 1994 (Cliff Ronning).
A New Vigneault?
Over reliance on veterans. Stubborn and unwilling to alter his system. These are hallmarks of AV as a coach. Expect him to tinker with his system a little this training camp and rely on the younger players too.
Then expect what you were expecting during the year, because old habits die hard…or become zombies and live forever.