New York Rangers go with 23 man roster to start, Sammy Blais doubtful for opener

The New York Rangers are going to start this season with a max roster of 23 players. The breakdown is 14 forwards, 7 defensemen, and 2 goalies.

Currently, that means the Blueshirts only have $183,532 in projected cap space. Per PuckPedia, that would allow them to only add $808,000 of AAV at the NHL Trade Deadline.

The team also announced that forward Julien Gauthier cleared waivers and has been assigned to the Hartford Wolf Pack.

Earlier in the day, defenseman Matt Bartkowski was released from his PTO and the Chicago Blackhawks claimed defenseman Jarred Tinordi off waivers from the Rangers.

Sammy Blais doubtful for opener

One likely reason the Rangers opted to carry 23 players to open the season is because Sammy Blais is considered doubtful for tomorrow’s opener against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Madison Square Garden.

Blais, 26, was hit hard by the Islanders’ Alexandar Romanov in the team’s last preseason game on Saturday. He left in the first period and didn’t return. At this time, it doesn’t seem like he will go on injured reserve (IR).

When he is healthy, the team will likely waive Dryden Hunt and have around $1 million in cap space. That’s significant come the trade deadline as it will allow the Rangers to add around $4.5 million in AAV.

New York Rangers potential opening night roster

gerard gallant new york rangers
Dec 8, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant reacts during the second period against the Colorado Avalanche at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

According to multiple reports the Rangers lines and d-pairs were as follows:

  • Kreider – Zibanejad – Kakko
  • Panarin Trocheck – Kravtsov
  • Lafreniere- Chytil – Goodrow
  • Vesey – Carpenter – Reaves (Hunt rotated in)
  • Lindgren – Fox
  • Miller – Trouba
  • Jones – Schneider

Libor Hajek is the team’s 7th defenseman.

Igor Shesterkin is expected to start with Jaroslav Halak backing him up.

“We’re exciting about starting the year,” Gerard Gallant said. “We’ve got our team and getting excited to play against Tampa Bay in our own building.”

Rangers keep Alternate Captains as is

The Rangers also announced they will not make any changes to the team’s leadership group.

That means Artemi Panarin, Barclay Goodrow, Chris Kreider, and Mika Zibanejad will continue to wear the A.

“It was a good group,” Gallant said. “You hate leaving guys out too. There were a lot of guys knocking on the door for those roles. I just think last year we had a good group. Why would I change it and take it away from those guys.”

During training camp the team contemplated shaking things up, in particular looking at making Adam Fox part of the leadership group.

“We’re not sure what we’re going to do,” Gallant said in September. “We’ll discuss it some more and there’s different combinations we might do. We’ll decide in the near future and we’ll make an announcement before the season starts.”

In the end, it looks like the Rangers wisely chose not to fix what isn’t broken.

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