Rangers Roundup: On ice workouts begin; Libor Hajek deal imminent; and more
Several New York Rangers took to the ice at the MSG Training Center yesterday, as we get closer to the official opening of camp next month.
K’Andre Miller, Kevin Rooney, Keith Kinkaid and others were all smiles back in their practice uniforms.
Rangers hit the ice
This is a big season coming up for sophomore defenseman K’Andre Miller. There is no denying that he had an amazing rookie season. It all culminated for the 21 year-old budding star with a spot on the NHL’s All-Rookie Team. In his first season fresh out of college, he recored 12 points and a +9 rating in 53 games while averaging 21:07 a night. He will be a mainstay in the Rangers top four this year.
Kevin Rooney was surprisingly protected from the Seattle Kraken. In the process, the Rangers lost versatile forward Colin Blackwell.
Rooney does better fit what the Rangers are looking to do with their bottom six, and his position as a center was valued. This season, he should center the 4th line and continue to help the PK. Rooney scored 14 points in 54 games while averaging 12:21 of ice time. The 28 year-old also registered 110 hits and 35 blocks.
As for Keith Kinkaid, he could be this season’s backup if the Rangers do eventually move Alexandar Georgiev in a trade. The 32 year-old is only on the books for $825,000 which is a great value when you look at his numbers. Kinkaid posted an 3-2-1 record in 9 games with a GAA of 2.59 and an .898 SV%.
Libor Hajek close to signing new deal
According to the NY Post, sources from Libor Hajek’s camp say a new deal is imminent. The RFA was tendered a qualifying offer weeks ago.
The 23 year-old left shot defenseman has had his ups and downs since joining the Rangers. This past year, he looked better defensively in spurts but seemed to lose the offensive side to his game. He managed just 2 goals and 2 assists in 44 contests, but had a +2 rating after being inserted permanently into the lineup in February.
Hajek seems like a good candidate to be included in a trade at some point. Even if it’s to a younger and upcoming team like the Red Wings or Coyotes for a draft pick. Knowing how hard his agent, Allan Walsh advocates for his clients, I wouldn’t be surprised if they quietly asked Chris Drury to trade him elsewhere for an opportunity.
Are the Ducks going to trade for Jack Eichel? More here.