Rangers Roundup: Wolf Pack postpone more games, Shesterkin starts, and Strome contract talks begin

The Hartford Wolf Pack have announced their next two games will be postponed as the team deals with COVID-19 issues.

“The American Hockey League (AHL) has announced that each of the next two Hartford Wolf Pack games will not be played as scheduled due to league COVID-19 protocols affecting the Wolf Pack,” the team said in a release. “The club’s games against the Providence Bruins on Friday, December 3rd, 2021, in Providence and against the Utica Comets on Saturday, December 4th, 2021, at the XL Center have been postponed.”

The AHL does not have a COVID-19 list similar to the NHL. Aside from the New York Rangers Greg McKegg, no other Pack members are known to be on protocol.

Igor Shesterkin in net against the Flyers

The Blueshirts have announced Igor Shesterkin will be in net for tonight’s clash against division rival Philadelphia Flyers.

For his career, the 25 year-old backstop sports a record of 1-3-0 with a 3.06 GAA. However, Shesterkin also has a .923 SV% against Philly. This season, his record stands at 11-3-2 with a 2.22 GAA and .933 SV%.

No other lineup changes.

Ryan Strome contract talks underway

new york rangers rumors
Nov 16, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers center Ryan Strome (16) celebrate the victory against the Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Larry Brooks of the NY Post is reporting this evening that the Rangers and Ryan Strome have at least begun to discuss a new contract.

The Post has learned that president-general manager Chris Drury and the pending unrestricted free agent center’s representatives have begun to engage in talks aimed at maintaining the Strome-Artemi Panarin connection well beyond this season.

NY Post

This is great news and I have long been an advocate to for keeping Strome. His chemistry with Artemi Panarin is undeniable and he’s proven to be every bit as offensively talented as most second and even first line centers.

Strome is riding an 8 game point streak (10 points) and has amassed 14 points in 16 games this season. His .88 points per game leads all Blueshirts centers.

Dating back to Panarin’s arrival in 2019-20, his .86 points per game (122 pts in 142 games) ranks 23rd for all centers in the NHL.

The Rangers are cap crunched in 2022-23 and have to plan for Kaapo Kakko’s next deal this summer. They also have to reserve money for Alexis Lafrenière and K’Andre Miller in 2023-24.

If Strome is willing to sacrifice money for security, maybe something can be done. He will turn 29 in July so the Rangers must also be careful with the number of years.

Strome is making $4.5M on his current deal and any new deal over $6M will hinder the Rangers cap maneuverability. That could make them prone to an offer sheet.

One source tells me if the term is right, Strome may accept $5.75M. This is going to be a very interesting negotiation.

NHL Rumors

The Rangers are in on DeBrusk and Patrick Roy wants the Montreal job. Read here.