New York Rangers may be playing Jake Leschyshyn very soon
Jake Leschyshyn may be suiting up for the New York Rangers when they take on the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday.
The Blueshirts picked him up off waivers on Wednesday from the Vegas Golden Knights, and head coach Gerard Gallant is familiar with his game.
“I seen him one year maybe two (in Vegas),” Gallant noted. “Character kid. Works hard and competitive. He did real well in minors last year and had good numbers. He’s a role player that kills penalties and plays that defensive game.”
A second round pick of the Knights from 2017, he has no points with 38 hits, 8 blocks, and a -7 rating in 22 games this season.
Jake Leschyshyn may play for Rangers soon
The Blueshirts are dealing with two injuries as Chris Kreider and Julien Gauthier are considered day-to-day with an upper-body issues.
When asked if Leschyshyn will be playing soon, Gallant quickly responded in the affirmative on Thursday.
“Yes for sure, that’s the plan,” he said. “He’s a young kid at 23 year-old and I think he’s going to play center.”
That will likely shift Jonny Brodzinski to the wing or out of the lineup depending on the status of Kreider and/or Gauthier.
“It’s a huge opportunity for me,” Leschyshyn said on Thursday. “I guess it’s a second chance in the NHL to try and make a name for myself here in New York. I’m obviously disappointed having been put on waivers by Vegas, but I guess emotions change pretty quick when you get picked up by a team like New York.
“I talked to Chris Drury quickly and he’s excited for me to work hard and bring some energy to this team.”
Last season, Leschyshyn posted AHL career highs with 14 goals and 13 assists in 34 games. It’s a decent indicator that he can provide the occasional offensive punch as a fourth liner.
Another element he brings to the lineup is a willingness to drop the gloves when called upon. According to Hockey-Fights, he’s had four fighting majors since March 14, 2021 in AHL and NHL preseason action.
If Leschyshyn can impress, it could give the Rangers some flexibility to trade Sammy Blais and his $1.5M cap hit to anyone that will take him. That would be a nice cap savings of over $700K that can be accrued for rentals at the trade deadline.
Leschyshyn has two more seasons on his contract with a low cap hit of just $766,667 per CapFriendly.
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