New York Rangers latest camp cuts reveals clear roster battles
The New York Rangers announced on Sunday that they have trimmed their roster down to 27 players. Additionally, that number will come down to 25, once defenseman Mac Hollowell and goalie Louis Domingue clear or get claimed off waivers tomorrow at 2 PM ET.
Seven players have been assigned to the Hartford Wolf Pack, including forward Jake Leschyshyn who cleared waivers today. Other notable assignments are goalie Dylan Garand, along with forwards Adam Edstrom, and Matt Rempe, and defensemen Matthew Robertson, and Brandon Scanlin.
Per the team’s press release the roster looks as follows:
Forwards: Nick Bonino, Jonny Brodzinski, Filip Chytil, Will Cuylle, Barclay Goodrow, Kaapo Kakko, Chris Kreider, Alexis Lafreniere, Brennan Othmann, Artemi Panarin, Tyler Pitlick, Vincent Trocheck, Jimmy Vesey, Blake Wheeler, Mika Zibanejad
Defensemen: Adam Fox, Erik Gustafsson, Ben Harpur, Mac Hollowell, Zac Jones, Ryan Lindgren, K’Andre Miller, Braden Schneider, Jacob Trouba
Goaltenders: Louis Domingue, Jonathan Quick, Igor Shesterkin
New Rangers camp battles
Examining today’s roster trimming clearly shows that Erik Gustafsson, Zac Jones, and Ben Harpur are duking it out for the sixth and seventh spot on defense.
Currently, veteran Gustafsson is the most likely to win that job as he’s been a standout for Peter Laviolette among the names mentioned. Meanwhile, youngster Jones is expected to also make the big club because he’s no longer waivers exempt.
“I think Zac Jones is making this roster,” Vince Mercogliano told Forever Blueshirts. “The Rangers are not going to risk placing him on waivers, and I’ve heard that from sources as well. Their plan is to keep Jones as the seventh defenseman. Simply because you’re not going to take a valuable prospect to be claimed for free. Is a trade a possibility? Yes, because I don’t see a clear path for Jones unless there’s an injury or Gustafsson falls flat.”
Jones, 22, played with the Blueshirts this season registering 1 goal and 1 assist for 2 points in 16 games. When it became clear that the he would not be getting consistent playing time to develop his skills, the Rangers sent him to their AHL affiliate. In 54 regular-season games with the Hartford Wolf Pack, Jones picked up 8 goals and 23 assists for 31 points.
An intriguing stroyline is unfolding among the forward groups with a battle for who will be the extra man.
Jonny Brodzinski currently seems to be the favorite for the role as Alex Belzile has already been assigned to the Wolf Pack. However, if Will Cuylle or Brennan Othmann can force their way onto the roster, Tyler Pitlick may get bumped off the fourth-line and send Brodzinski to the AHL where he’s the captain of the Wolf Pack.
“A lot of my buddies have gone to Hartford and I don’t know what will happen,” Othmann said after scoring his second goal in as many games on Saturday. “At the end of the day, I’m going to try to continue to make the team. A lot of people have the lineup set in their heads, but I’m going to compete for spot or a call up later in the season. Only management knows what’s going to happen but I’m going to keep competing.”
Brodzinski, 30, played 17 games for the Rangers last season recording 1 goal and 1 assist for 2 points.
Othmann, 20, came into New York Rangers training camp as one of the team’s most highly touted prospects. He had an excellent 2022-23 campaign by scoring 29 goals and 38 assists for 67 points in 56 matches split between the Flint Firebirds and the Peterborough Petes. He took his game to another level in the playoffs leading Peterborough to an OHL title with 8 goals and 17 assists for 25 points in 23 playoff games.
Cuylle, 21, had a great first pro season with the Pack in 2022-23 with 25 goals and 45 points. He was also called up for 4 games last season registering no points with the Rangers.
The Blueshirts are back to practice tomorrow at 11 AM.