It’s early but both Hayes and Duclair should remain in the NHL

Anthony Duclair looks like he belongs (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Anthony Duclair looks like he belongs (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers have played four games now and aside from the season opener in St. Louis, they have played terrible defensive hockey. Allowing seventeen goals in the last three games, all losses. Between the injuries and roster turnover, the game to game lineup has been a revolving door.

However, there’s two rookies that should secure a full time spot in the lineup. Anthony Duclair and Kevin Hayes are both a good fit and here’s why they should remain with the Rangers.  In my last post, I got into the players I felt were not right for the club at this time. In this post I’d like to get into who should remain with the big club rather than play in Hartford.

Ryan Malone, NYR (Getty Images)

Ryan Malone, NYR (Getty Images)


Coach Alain Vigneault had four (3C-3RW-4LW-4RW) spots to fill and only training camp and preseason to decide who to use. The Rangers signed a slew of vets to contracts and needed to see what they can do. Lee Stempniak was pretty much a given for the third right wing. However, veteran Matthew Lombardi was outplayed by younger and hungrier players in training camp. Ryan Malone did just enough to earn a spot and finally got his shot on Tuesday at home against the Islanders to play. His insertion onto the fourth line seemed to breathe life into that group. Matthew Lombardi was of course released by the team.

Anthony Duclair and Jesper Fast played their way onto the twenty-three man roster. At least to begin the season. Jesper Fast should be on the team but not from a fourth line position. He’s a top nine player but there is no room for him there. The Rangers have too much depth on the wings. He should go to Hartford where he can play big minutes every night.

Anthony Duclair is a nineteen year old and is going to have to learn on the fly and will make mistakes. Through four regular season games though, he hasn’t looked out of place at all. He has the talent to remain in the NHL for the entire season.

Hockey’s Future Talent Analysis, Anthony Duclair

A speedy sniper, Duclair relies on his great skating ability to create chances and has dynamic offensive talent to make the most of the opportunity. With the ability to make plays at top speed and sizzling acceleration, Duclair often only needs the slimmest of openings before he’s on the attack. More of a shoot-first player, Duclair’s shot is extremely accurate, but he needs to be more consistent. Furthermore, he would be well served to round out his game and add significant strength.

His skating is at a professional level and his speed is at an elite level. Once the New York Rangers get their regulars back, (Derek Stepan, Dan Boyle) he should remain with the NHL team. Duclair will then have a more defined role on this team, likely the way Chris Kreider was brought along last season. When training camp began, New York Ranger fans knew about the 2013 third round draft pick. However, as far as the NHL roster went, he was a virtual unknown.

Kevin Hayes at NYR practice (NYR)

Kevin Hayes at NYR practice (NYR)

The other young player the New York Rangers have and should keep around is Kevin Hayes. Hayes is in a different position than Anthony Duclair. Kevin Hayes didn’t have a great training camp or preseason. He was injured in the second to last preseason game and it was speculated he would be sent to Hartford. The former first round draft pick was inserted into the Rangers lineup as a highly after he was scratched for the first two games of the regular season due to a shoulder injury. He doesn’t look at out place either.

Glen Sather was unable to find any veteran centerman in free agency with his limited budget. He was however, able to win the Hayes sweepstakes. Although Hayes prefers to play the right wing, he’s viewed by the coaching staff as a center and that’s where he is a good fit for the New York Rangers. His size is an added bonus for a Ranger team that lacks size up the middle. Kevin Hayes played two strong games at both ends of the ice. He’s responsible defensively and despite his 6’5″ 225 pound frame, he has real soft hands and good offensive instincts with a willingness to play in the “dirty areas”.

These young players are the only two that should remain in the lineup for at least the majority of the 14/15 season. They both fill a need and have the right skill set for the way the Rangers want to play. If there is another organizational need, it’s on defense. Matt Hunwick and Mike Kostka have been awful in their small sample size. Glen Sather should definitely be on the lookout for a depth defenseman.

As for J.T. Miller, feel free to let me know why he didn’t get a fair shot in the comments below. He’s a minus four in his last two games, one of them on the wing.

As always, thanks for reading FullTilt Rangers.


I began watching the Rangers in 1990 when I was 9 years old. Soon after a lifelong friend of... More about Bob-O

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