New York Rangers recall Zac Jones with Nemeth status uncertain

The New York Rangers have recalled defenseman Zac Jones on Sunday. With veteran defenseman Patrik Nemeth still uncertain per Gerard Gallant, they’ve opted to call up Jones, who could very well pair up with Wolf Pack defense partner Braden Schneider against the Bruins on Tuesday.

Rangers recall Zac Jones

Per the Wolf Pack Press Release:

Jones, selected in the third round (68th overall) by the Rangers in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, has skated in 27 games with the Wolf Pack in his rookie professional season. Jones has scored 18 points (4 g, 14 a), including his first professional goal, with the Pack in 2021-22. He currently leads all Wolf Pack defensemen in scoring.

Jones has also skated in six NHL games with the Rangers during the 2021-22 season, scoring an assist. In his career, Jones has skated in 16 total NHL games and scored five assists.

Yesterday, head coach Gerard Gallant was asked if Nemeth, who is practicing with the team would be ready to join the lineup.

“We’re not sure he’s back yet– he’s coming along,” the coach said. “He’s not in the lineup yet for Tuesday (against Boston). We have to take our time with him and make sure he’s good to go.”

At this time, the call-up of Jones is an insurance move. The Rangers are holding another practice today, so we should learn more later.

Nemeth, 30, has two points in 38 games this season. He last played on January 22, in a 7-3 Rangers win over the Coyotes.

Zac Jones has played well this season

zac jones
Jan 6, 2022; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Zac Jones (6) ties up the stick of Vegas Golden Knights center Mattias Janmark (26) during the second period at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Jones, 21, has played very well when called upon. Gallant has used him sparingly this season as Jones has only averaged 13:56 of ice time in the six contests he’s played. However, the coach is impressed with the young defender.

“Jonesy came up and played and our (defense) played really good,” Gallant said on Saturday. “Those last couple of games (the defense) played solid hockey. It’s nice to see guys come up and play well. But the whole group played really good together.”

Kris Knoblauch, who also filled in for Gallant when he had COVID thinks Jones is a dynamic player. The Pack coach discussed his ability to make reads and move the puck.

“Jones can create offensive with his passing and his mobility on the blue-line beating a guy one on one,” he explained.

If Nemeth is unable to go, and Jones is inserted over a healthy Libor Hajek, it would indicate to me that the young defenseman has supplanted Hajek on the depth chart.

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