Rangers bulk up: Analyzing Matt Rempe and Adam Edstrom recalls

NHL: Preseason-New York Islanders at New York Rangers
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The New York Rangers made an interesting move late Saturday night by recalling two hulking forwards, Matt Rempe and Adam Edstrom. Additionally, they sent down forward Jake Leschyshyn, but this transaction now gives them two extra forwards and a max roster of 23 players.

By calling up these players, the Blueshirts have added two versatile forwards that can play either center or wing. However, what both of them bring is a very physical presence, and an ability to grind their opponents down using their size.

Related: Rangers Trade Board

Rangers bulk up with Matt Rempe and Adam Edstrom

NHL: Preseason-New York Rangers at Boston Bruins
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Rempe, 21, has registered eight goals and four assists for 12 points in 43 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack to date. The sixth round selection of the 2020 NHL Draft tips the scales at 6-7′ and 207 pounds. He has yet to make his NHL debut.

Edstrom, 23, recently returned from injury and has notched 10 points (8 goals, 2 assists) in the 25 games he’s played for the Pack. Also taken in the sixth round, but in 2019, he comes in at 6-8′ and 225 pounds. New York called him up earlier in the season, where he registered a goal in his NHL debut helping to beat the Ducks on Dec. 15th.

Rangers coach Peter Laviolette said after practice Sunday, “I believe so,” when asked if Edstrom will play Monday against the Calgary Flames. Tyler Pitlick would be scratched in that case.

Breaking down the call ups

As expected, the move raised a serious amount of questions on social media, with many leaning towards a potential trade in the works.

The simplest explanation is that the Rangers may have a forward or two nursing injuries. Additionally, because their next opponent is the very physical Flames, these players make the most sense to have at the ready.

There is also the possibility that Artemi Panarin, who withdrew from the All-Star game expecting the birth of his child, may need some time off.

“Hi Rangers Fans,” Panarin explained. “Sadly, I can’t go to the All-Star Game this year – my wife and I are expecting our second baby and I can’t wait for this moment.”

New York really liked what they saw in Edstrom from his brief time with the club. Had he not gotten injured, he would have been called up over Leschyshyn. So the mystery over why he’s here should end there.

“He played a really good game,” coach Peter Laviolette said after his debut. “It was nice to see him come in there under those circumstance and play a big game… He had a real good showing and should be proud of himself.”

Meanwhile, Rempe doesn’t back down an inch to anyone and is willing to drop the gloves if the situation arises. He’s made quite the reputation for himself in the AHL, and has fought NHL tough guys like Ross Johnston during preseason games with the Blueshirts.

Obviously, if a player needs a rest, Edstrom could easily slot in to a spot on the Rangers’ bottom-six. Should both call ups get into the lineup, it’s possible something bigger is brewing regarding a trade.

Maybe the Rangers are showcasing these two players? Or maybe the organization wants to know what they have in them before moving someone else off the roster?

Bottom line, this is all speculation, but tis the season with the Mar. 8th NHL trade deadline drawing closer.

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