Rangers look within for bottom-six fix after waiving Bonino and Pitlick

NHL: New York Rangers at Ottawa Senators
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The New York Rangers are looking within their own organization for a bottom-six fit ahead of the Mar. 8th NHL Trade Deadline.

After waiving veterans Nick Bonino and Tyler Pitlick, the Blueshirts have relied on Jonny Brodzinski to center the third line, and rookie Adam Edstrom to bolster the fourth line. It’s a clear indication that general manager Chris Drury wants to exhaust all internal options before surrendering any assets for a role player.

Undoubtedly, Drury would rather use any trade chips he has to bring in a top-six right wing or a third-pair shutdown defenseman, before addressing those lines.

Related: Rangers Trade Board

Rangers look within for bottom-six fix

NHL: Preseason-New York Rangers at Boston Bruins
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On Tuesday, the Rangers placed Tyler Pitlick on waivers, and if he clears is going to be assigned to the Hartford Wolf Pack.

That’s because they were once again impressed by the bigger and faster rookie, Edstrom. After playing just his second game with the big club, it appears he’s impressed enough to earn a longer look on Broadway.

“I like his physicality, I like his awareness,” said coach Peter Laviolette. “He was a player that played good defense (with Hartford), he killed penalties. Eventually, we’ll start to work him into different scenarios.”

Playing on a line with Barclay Goodrow and Jimmy Vesey, they were instrumental in helping Igor Shesterkin earn his first shutout on Monday, 2-0 over the red-hot Calgary Flames. Additionally, it was Brodzinski who started the play on the decisive goal scored by Will Cuylle. His defensive awareness at the Rangers’ blue-line transitioned the puck the other way for the eventual tally.

In the six games since Bonino was waived (Jan. 25th), Brodzinski has scored three goals and added two assists for five points.

The Rangers also brought up hulking young center Matt Rempe for a closer look at practice at the same time they called up Edstrom. He was quickly returned without playing a game, but Laviolette made it very plain they wanted to see him up close, meaning another call up isn’t out of the question.

At the end of the day, there’s plenty of time for the Rangers to see what they have in Brodzinski and Edstrom before the deadline. Should they feel the need to go out and trade for a veteran center like Adam Henrique remains to be seen. It’s just nice to know what options you already have before making a deal.

Update: Alex Belzile recalled

Belzile, 32, has recorded 14 goals and 23 assists for 37 points in 43 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack this season.

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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