New York Rangers appear ready to debut new top line tonight against Islanders

zibanejad contract
Mar 7, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (93) moves the puck alongside left wing Alexis Lafreniere (13) against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at PPG Paints Arena. The Penguins won 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers will be in preseason action tonight against division rivals New York Islanders. Although the lineup is yet to be official, today’s practice lines indicate that fans will get the first look at a revamped top line.

As has been shown so far in camp, Mika Zibanejad will center a line with Chris Kreider on the left and Alexis Lafrenière on the right.

So how does the 2020 first overall pick feel about switching wings?

“You’re much more on your backhand, I feel like, but you gotta be able to play both wings” he said last week. “Me and Chris have talked about it a little bit. We both feel comfortable so we’ll still try to figure it out and get better for the season start to be comfortable.”

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Rangers to debut some potential line combos

Lafrenière, 19, registered 21 points in 56 games last season. It’s important to note that 13 of those points came in the final 25 games of the season. He also scored 8 of his 12 goals in the team’s final 23 games.

That strong finish and how hard he’s worked this summer has his center paying attention.

“He put in the work last season and this summer,” Zibanejad noted. “I feel like he’s allowing his skill set to come out even more now. I could see that just from the hour scrimmage. I’m super excited.”

rangers preseason
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It also looks like Gerard Gallant will give his potential new third line a look as well. Filip Chytil will center new acquisition Barclay Goodrow on his left, and Vitali Kravtsov to his right. A lot of what the Ranger hope to achieve will be based on what the bottom six can do, but it really hinges on that line.

“Goodrow is going to push them to be better players,” Gallant said about the unit. “He’s going to talk to them every shift about doing the right things with the puck and putting them in the right situations. It’s not all about offense.”

Some of the younger players are also getting a look, although it’s not clear how they will be deployed tonight. Included in the group are Development Camp standouts Morgan Barron and Will Cuylle. They will be joined by fellow prospects Karl Henriksson and Matt Rempe.

They will be joined by offseason free agent signing Dryden Hunt and returning Blueshirt, Julien Gauthier.

Rangers defense boast two out of three regular season pairings

On defense, Ryan Lindgren and Adam Fox will be your top unit. They will be followed by what many believe is the third defense pairing of Patrik Nemeth and Nils Lundkvist. All eyes will be glued to what Nils will bring to the team and if he will have the expected chemistry with Nemeth many anticipate.

The third defense pairing included free agent signing Jarred Tinordi and returning Ranger, Anthony Bitetto. Tinordi will be there to make sure any Islander that takes a run at someone will answer to him.

In goal we will get a spilt of Alexander Georgiev and Adam Huska.

Game-time is 7PM at MSG.

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Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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