Predicting who makes the New York Rangers with two preseason games left

new york rangers zac jones
Sep 26, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Zac Jones (6), right wing Kaapo Kakko (24), and left wing Chris Kreider (20) celebrate after a goal by Jones against the New York Islanders during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers improved their exhibition standings to 2-1-1 with a come from behind win over the New Jersey Devils 2-1.

With two preseason games remaining, the next round of roster trimmings will be coming soon. Those contests will bring clarity on the final roster for opening night which is October 11 versus the Tampa Bay Lightning.


Monday, Sept. 26 (7:00 PM)   NYIMSG, MSGSN, NHLN, ESPN 98.7W, 4-1
Tuesday, Sept. 27 (7:00 PM)@BOSMSG, NESN+, NHLN, ESPN 98.7L, 3-2(OT)
Thursday, Sept. 29 (7:00 PM)NJMSG, MSGSN, NHLN, ESPN 98.7L, 5-2
Friday, Sept. 30 (7:00 PM)@NJMSG, MSGSN, NHLN, ESPN 98.7W, 2-1
Wednesday, Oct. 5 (7:00 PM)BOSTNT
Saturday, Oct. 8 (7:00 PM)@NYIMSG
New York Rangers 2022-23 preseason schedule

New York Rangers ready to make more cuts

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday, the Rangers trimmed their training camp roster by 8 to bring the total number of players here to 34. Among those cut was prized prospect Brennan Othmann, who likely would’ve stayed here longer save for being ineligible at age 19 to be sent to the AHL.

Below are all the names remaining at camp with those in Bold and Italics still fighting for a spot:

Forwards (20): Sammy Blais, Jonny Brodzinski, Ryan Carpenter, Filip Chytil, Will Cuylle, Julien Gauthier, Tim Gettinger, Barclay Goodrow, Dryden Hunt, Kaapo Kakko, Vitali Kravtsov, Chris Kreider, Alexis Lafrenière, Lauri Pajuniemi, Artemi Panarin, Ryan Reaves, Gustav Rydahl, Vincent Trocheck, Jimmy Vesey, Mika Zibanejad

Defensemen (11): Matt Bartkowski, Ty Emberson, Adam Fox, Libor Hajek, Zac Jones, Ryan Lindgren, K’Andre Miller, Braden Schneider, Jarred Tinordi, Jacob Trouba, Andy Welinski

Goaltenders (3): Louis Domingue, Jaroslav Halak, Igor Shesterkin

Two transactions that are in the works are forward Tim Gettinger and defenseman Andy Welinski, who were both placed on waivers yesterday. They will be sent down to the Wolf Pack if they clear.

That really puts the roster at 32 with Gerard Gallant ready to make more cuts before the Rangers next game on Wednesday, October 5.

“For our coaching staff we’ll have about 27 or 28 players left in the near future for the last two games,” Gallant said. “We’ll have most of our team playing those games to get ready for the regular season.”

So we know of two players simply by way of waiver transaction, but who else is an obvious cut?

Louis Domingue is a given before the opening night roster, but he will stay here for practice and likely to backup both Igor Shesterkin and Jaroslav Halak. That means we’re looking for about 5 more cuts this weekend.

Will Cuylle, Ty Emberson, Lauri Pajuniemi, Gustav Rydahl, and Jarred Tinordi are my next expected cuts.

While it’s possible that Matt Bartkowski could be released from his PTO soon, I think the Rangers give him one more look as the 7th defenseman. If not Tinordi stays.

As for Will Cuylle, he’s looked good but is going to be better served playing at least one pro season with the Wolf Pack. The 20 year-old has the size to play in this league but needs develop his game to be effective at the NHL level.

Gustav Rydahl is someone on this list many will question and not be pleased to see. Even though he’s been solid and picked up his first preseason point on K’Andre Miller’s game winner last night, the fact he’s waivers exempt is why he’ll be sent down. That’s fine because I believe he’s done enough to be the first call up if an injury occurs.

New York Rangers camp battles

zac jones
Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports

Zac Jones is the 6th defenseman

Coming into camp many believed the battle for who will be Braden Schneider’s partner this season was between Zac Jones and Matthew Robertson. It quickly became apparent that Robertson was not impressing as Libor Hajek came back from the offseason in excellent shape and tested well. Robertson was an early cut and none of the other defensemen stood out.

“When my legs are moving that’s the biggest thing for me,” Jones said after the win versus NJ. “Schneids played a great game with me and is a great partner to have. I think him and I work well together.”

All and all, they’ve been used as a pairing in both games they played with Jones registering a goal in their first game together against the Islanders to open exhibition action and Schneider getting an assist last night on Artemi Panarin’s goal. For me, it’s clear as day that Jones will start this season.

At this point, the job as the extra defeseman will go to Libor Hajek. Despite turnovers, he’s been more impressive than Bartkowski, who has been burned several times by speedier opponents.

Two opens spots on the Rangers bottom six

Due to the salary cap, the Rangers are unlikely to carry the 23 max roster limit. That means there’s a lot of players fighting for what looks like one spot on the fourth line and the extra forward.

In reality, it’s going to take a lot to beat out Ryan Carpenter, who was signed this summer to replace Kevin Rooney as the 4th line center and penalty kill. He and Gallant are also familiar with each other from their time together in Vegas.

The players remaining are Jimmy Vesey, Dryden Hunt, Jonny Brodzinski, and Julien Gauthier all fighting for one spot.

Of the four, Brodzinski has been solid but not better than the others he’s up against. Plus, he’s the captain of the Wolf Pack and they need all the help they can get.

Julien Gauthier has looked fast and strong in preseason action, but once again can’t finished despite having 11 shots in 3 games. If he was a center, I’d say he had a chance. However, the Blueshirts wings are pretty overloaded and he hasn’t outplayed Hunt or Vesey. Look for the Rangers to trade him before having to place him on waivers.

Finally, it will come down to Jimmy Vesey and Dryden Hunt for the last forward spot. Even though Hunt has decent speed and is a strong forechecker, he’s not a good penalty killer. That’s why the 29 year-old Vesey will turn his PTO into a standard contract and make his second tour of duty with the Rangers in 202-23.

Vesey also has recorded a goal and two assist in his three games, plus last night his hard back check on the PK saved the game-tying goal and preserved a Rangers win.

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Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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