Playing AV: Predicting the Rangers roster trim for opening night

Vesey WILL make the team (NYR)

Vesey WILL make the team (NYR)

The Rangers finished their preseason yesterday and have a few days to get cap compliant and set their opening night roster.

Alain Vigneault‘s Roster Trims

AV told the media that he is trying to decide between either 14 forwards or 8 defensemen right now. He also said he expects the roster trimmed to about 24-25 players by Monday. Here is how I see it going down:

NYR Projected 2016-17 opening night roster (CapFriendly)

NYR Projected 2016-17 opening night roster (CapFriendly)

Getting Down to 24

I think it is key to note that the Rangers will carry 14 forwards and 8 defenseman to start the season due to Oscar Lindberg‘s injury. There is nothing to suggest Lindberg will be available in the near future and there is no need to put him on LTIR for any cap savings. If they did, he would not be able to play until Saturday, Nov. 5th versus Boston.

So in essence, the Rangers will go with 13 forwards and 8 defensemen to start the year. That means Adam Clendening makes the team but will likely not see any action. Same goes for Josh Jooris, since he failed to distinguish himself but has the size to play 4th line minutes if there’s an injury or someone falters before Lindberg is ready.

Cap Situation

Should the Rangers go with the 24 above, they will have around 2M in cap space available. If they send down Clendening or Jooris when Lindberg is healthy, they will have around 2.7M.

You don’t think the Rangers are really going to go for long with that much cap room and not try to make a deal do you? Something is coming and I believe a trade will happen by Halloween.

Where Are Tanner Glass and Nathan Gerbe?
Photo credit: NY Post

Photo credit: NY Post

I see plenty of people on social media thinking Glass is a lock because he’s the equivalent of a teacher’s pet for AV. He was even given the “A” on some nights in preseason. However, the game continues to move further and further away from fighting and that diminishes his value enough to send him to Hartford to start the year.

Nathan Gerbe on the other hand had some solid preseason shifts, but his small size is a detriment and he really never distinguished himself offensively. He will help Hartford this year and be a likely call up should injury or poor play strikes the kids (Vesey or Buchnevich). Jooris made it over Gerbe because of his ability to play the PK.

One additional thought on Glass, he is in his last year of his contract which could trigger a claim on waivers. His grit and character would be highly regarded on some younger teams (Arizona). The fact there is no further obligation after this season and his salary (1M) is less than his cap hit of 1.45M may be very attractive to some.

Who Could Be Dealt?
Fast (NYR)

Fast (NYR)

Let me preface this section by saying, who could be dealt is really dependent on the return obviously. However, the Rangers have some decent assets they could move in a small deal or package in a bigger deal.

Here are the candidates in the order of most to least valuable:

  1. Jesper Fast
  2. Oscar Lindberg
  3. Dylan McIlrath
  4. Adam Clendening
  5. Josh Jooris

P.S. As far as the most tradable Ranger, to me it is and will be until the day he is moved, Rick Nash.

 

Final Thoughts

I think we are in for an exciting season. Watching Jimmy Vesey and Pavel Buchnevich develop will be the most fun thing for fans this year. However, the breakout season I anticipate for Chris Kreider will be the biggest positive for the Rangers. There is also a huge possibility the Rangers may have a stud in the making by the name of Mika Zibanejad.

On defense, I do expect a really strong season from Dan Girardi. Whether the haters want to admit it or not, he’s looked light years better this preseason than he’s had in awhile. This will only benefit the game of Ryan McDonagh. Many are in love with Clendening’s offensive ability but he will not be a factor in the top 6 due to his position on the depth chart and one dimensional game.

This Rangers team will make the playoffs and may have the best PP we’ve seen in years. I still think they need to work on their PK and overall defense but Henrik Lundqvist is the great equalizer.

The big question is, can they win the Cup? My answer today is NO. Just realize there is a lot of time and a trade deadline for that opinion to change.

Share your opinions below in the comments section. 

Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore