Quick Hits-Rangers-Flyers 9/26/17 (preseason)
Here is my Quick Hits recap of the Rangers 4-3 overtime defeat to the Flyers in Philadelphia.
Vinni Lettieri – I have to admit that I didn’t think Lettieri had any chance of making the opening night roster when camp opened. But after seeing how he’s played in the preseason, I’m quite sure he has done enough to be on the MSG ice on October 5th. The University of Minnesota product put up better numbers each year over the course of his time there. While Jesper Fast is out, Lettieri would become another right-handed forward (barring a trade) in the team’s bottom six.
He has shown enough compete on both sides of the puck to be trusted. His offensive skills are very good and could find him some power play time. He also shoots the puck without a conscience; which is also a welcome sight. With his hands, I wonder if he would also be a shootout specialist. Once Fast gets back, all bets are off. Lettieri will have 3-4 weeks to try and keep his spot on the roster
See Desharnais score on the power play with a ?! pic.twitter.com/p3UAF029kC
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) September 27, 2017
Jimmy Vesey – Vesey has shown a great ability to pass this preseason. With his big Harvard brain, he seems to be one thought ahead of the defense at all times. We have seen this numerous times these past two weeks. His assist on Paul Carey’s first-period goal was another example of that. It goes without question that the Blueshirts need him to score goals. But Vesey looks much more well-rounded and comfortable in his game.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) September 26, 2017
Michael Grabner – In my opinion, he is not a 4th line player. He should get top 9 forward ice time, and anything less is just doing opposing defensemen a favor. His speed and long reach give the other team nightmares. I am sure he will slot up in third periods with his team in the lead to utilize his strong defensive game and quick-strike ability. His third-period goal in this one came after great forecheck pressure from linemates Kevin Hayes and JT Miller. Last year, he started on the fourth line, but they couldn’t keep him there. And it looks like he hasn’t lost a step over the summer.
Filip Chytil – This was the first game where it seemed like he was a little low on energy. Chytil had a few good shifts in the third, he drew a penalty and took a big hit for the second night in a row. With the open ice that comes with 3v3 overtime, he showed a little more. In the end, the Rangers will have a big decision to make on him. I think the safe and smart thing to do is to send him back and wait a year for further development.
Gabriel Fontaine – I wish he was right-handed. He provides great energy every shift and is all over the puck. He gave the Flyers fits in this one with his ability to possess the puck, and is really difficult to dislodge once he has it. He also forechecks like crazy and is a deft pickpocket, which makes him a pain in the posterior to play against.
Notes – JT Miller had his most active game of the preseason, which isn’t saying much. He had a solid third period with some setups to Grabner. Ryan Graves was solid. His quickness and footwork aren’t great, but he is AHL depth or trade bait. His biggest calling card is a 104 mph slapshot, but we haven’t gotten to see it much. Boo Nieves has been lauded a lot this preseason, but I’m not sure why. He’s a little vanilla and hasn’t provided much offense at all. He’s solid on draws but doesn’t seem to create much nor get many opportunities.