Ryan Malone made the team, now what?
Ryan Malone was brought to the Rangers as a low risk high reward kind of player. Three games have passed and he has yet to crack the lineup. There is speculation about his role moving forward.
Alain Vigneault spoke to the media on Friday and was clear that he wasn’t sure himself where Malone stood with the Rangers. “Malone is healthy and I had a good conversation with him. I liked his training camp, but I am not quite sure, and I was very honest with him, where he fits in with are team picture right now. We all know a lot of stuff happens in a season. At this time that is where he is situated and we will see where it goes.”
When Malone was passed over in favor of Kevin Hayes on Sundau night the situation got even bleaker for Malone. Right now he is the favorite to get the boot when Derek Stepan returns. Malone was solid in training camp, but couldn’t stay healthy. Vigneault told the media that Malone not being able to get through camp without injury was a concern.
Malone is something of a square peg in a round hole. Malone’s heavy style makes him hard to fit in the lineup; because the Rangers try to play a fast man to man style game. At this stage of his career Malone would be best suited in a zone defensive role.
Malone’s only real shot to make the team is an injury, or if Anthony Duclair suddenly looks completely out of place.
If Lee Stempniak is just horrendous over the next few games Malone may be able to take his place. Duclair and Stempniak just have the kinds of tools the Rangers are looking for.
Kevin Hayes is ahead of Malone, because he brings the same size element with improved skating and skill.
Malone could help the Rangers on the power play and can bring grit and net front presence to the team. As of now Malone looks like a long shot to get into the lineup.
Last season with Tampa Bay Malone played in 57 games and posted 5 goals and 10 assists.
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