Possible Rangers bound for World Championships
Each year, many NHL’ers who fail to qualify for the playoffs get the call to play for their countries in the IIHF World Championships. The 2019 IIHF World Championships will take place in Slovakia beginning on May 10 and when the rosters are announced, don’t be surprised to find many of the Rangers representing their respective countries. With the playoffs now an impossibility, let’s take a look at which Rangers could possibly be bound for Slovakia in just a few short weeks.
Team Sweden must be thrilled that the Rangers will miss the postseason because that means Mika Zibanejad and Henrik Lundqvist will be tabbed to join their countrymen in Slovakia in May. The Rangers’ current number one center and franchise netminder will almost assuredly be on Sweden’s roster and they will be a huge boost to their country. If he wasn’t currently dealing with an injury, I would say Jesper Fast would be considered as well. Zibanejad is in the midst of a career year for the Rangers and is proving himself capable of being a number one center for the Blueshirts on their way back towards Stanley Cup contention. Lundqvist is the franchise. A goalie who has done it all except win the big one (hopefully he gets one before he hangs up the pads). They will be excellent additions to team Sweden’s roster.
The USA squad will undoubtedly be asking some Rangers to join their ranks as well. Tony DeAngelo has honestly had a great year for the Rangers when he has been in the lineup and he deserves a chance to play for his country in Slovakia. Brady Skjei and Kevin Shattenkirk may each get a call but that may be as certain as it was in years past. Both struggled at points this year and need to have bounce back seasons next year. Team USA could look to them as possible depth guys. A dark horse candidate for team USA is Rangers prospect K’Andre Miller. With current Wolf Pack GM Chris Drury taking up the reigns as the GM of team USA, don’t be shocked if Miller is brought in as a depth guy for team USA. Last year, Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes was on the roster without having a minute of NHL time. Miller had an amazing freshman year and I would not be shocked to see him as a depth guy for team USA.
Team Russia and team Czech Republic could also call the Rangers and see if a few of them would be interested in joining their respective countries overseas. Pavel Buchnevich has quietly had an amazing year while playing a lot of minutes on the fourth line. Vlad Namestnikov also had a much better showing in his first full season on Broadway.
Another player for the Russians to consider is Rangers prospect Vitali Kravtsov. The 2018 first-round draft pick was third in team scoring, despite missing 12 games. In addition, the 19-year-old contributed to more than 26% of his team’s goals. It is definitely possible that team Russia will be asking the neophyte to don his country’s sweater once again.
As for the Czechs, there’s a Rangers rookie who could use some more experience and that’s our boy Filip Chytil. Chytil, for all intents and purposes, had a nice rookie season for the Rangers this year. He showed his potential at times and he is only going to get better and become an even bigger part of the core of the team moving forward. Chytil getting a shot to play for the Czechs is not out of the question.
Finally, we have team Canada; and while the Rangers don’t actually have many Canadians on their roster, there is one Canadian that deserves his shot at representing his country. That player would be Ryan Strome. The Spooner-for-Strome trade will go down as one of the best of the season. Strome has been an amazing add for the Rangers and will be a great middle-six forward as this team works it’s way back toward contention. Expect team Canada to give him a call.
Is there anyone else here that deserves a mention? Let us know in the comments below! And as always, follow Forever Blueshirts as we make our way towards the draft lottery, the draft and an exciting offseason!