Vladimir Tarasenko to debut for Rangers against Kraken
The excitement tonight at Madison Square Garden will be felt from the ice to the rafters as Vladimir Tarasenko will make his New York Rangers debut against the Seattle Kraken.
On Thursday, the Blueshirts dealt Sammy Blais, prospect Hunter Skinner, a conditional first-round pick, and conditional fourth-round pick to the St. Louis Blues for Tarsenko and defenseman Niko Mikkola.
Per multiple reports, the conditions on the picks are as follows:
- Blues will get the second of the Rangers two first-round picks depending on final standings
- If the Rangers make the playoffs, the fourth-round pick becomes a third-round selection
St. Louis also retained 50% of Tarasenko’s cap charge in order to make the deal work. Both players will be UFA’s in July.
Here’s tonight’s game and broadcast info:
New York Rangers (29-14-8) vs. Seattle Kraken (29-17-5)
Date/Time: February 10, 2023 at 7:00 PM ET
Arena: Madison Square Garden
Radio: ESPN 98.7
Vladimir Tarasenko set to debut for Rangers
The New York Rangers did not want to wait for Patrick Kane to make a decision on waiving his no-trade clause. They also were concerned, like many other teams, about his nagging lower-body injury that’s impacting his performance this season. Instead, the Rangers went with a player they’ve had interest in since last season.
Tarasenko, 31, has 29 points in 38 games this season. The skilled forward also has his name on the Stanley Cup, which he won in 2019 with the Blues.
Head coach Gerard Gallant is expected to slot him on the right wing opposite Artemi Panarin and centered by Mika Zibanejad.
“It’s something we’ve been looking at for a while and when the pieces started to come together, I didn’t really see any reason to wait,” Rangers general manager Chris Drury said. “It certainly gives the two new players a little more time to acclimate to our group. There’s still a few weeks before the deadline, but we’re excited to be able to do it now and get them in lineup tomorrow.”NHL.com
Another key piece of the deal will also make his debut. Hulking defenseman Niko Mikkola will take Ben Harpur’s spot on the third pair partnering with Braden Schneider.
Mikkola, 26, has notched just 3 assists in 50 games, but at 6-4′ and 210 pounds it’s not points the Rangers are looking for. This season, he ranked third on the Blues in hits (96) and blocked shots (68).
“Yeah, he was a big piece of it,” Drury said. “As we as we pushed along on the deal, this was a piece that I really wanted in there and to have him in there now and not wait on it. He’s a real good shutdown defenseman. Obviously, he’s got size (6-foot-4, 209 pounds) and reach, like (Rangers defenseman) K’Andre [Miller] does. A lot of good reports on him. We’ve done our homework and feel good about adding him to our [defense] corps.”NHL.com
New additions aside, the Blueshirts are looking to go perfect on their current four-game home stand (3-0-0). They’ve also are on a five-game points streak (4-0-1) thanks to the red-hot scoring of Filip Chytil.
Chytil, 23, picked up his 19th goal of the season on Wednesday in a win over the Vancouver Canucks. That was his 11th goal in the last 13 games, he’s also on a five-game points streak (7G -1A).
Expected back in between the pipes is Igor Shesterkin, who is 2-0-1 in his last three starts. For his career against the Kraken, he’s 2-0-1 with a 1.97 GAA, and a .943 save percentage.
In other moves, the Rangers sent down forward Will Cuylle and placed defenseman Libor Hajek on waivers.
Kraken looking for a win
It’s been a great year for the Seattle Kraken, who are second in the Pacific Division at the start of play today.
Unfortunately, they’ve been slipping with a three losses in their last four games (1-3-0) and winless on their current road trip losing to the Isles and Devils.
Seattle is also without their leading scorer Andre Burakovsky, who suffered a lower-body injury on Tuesday. So while all signs point to a potential big night at the Garden, the Rangers must beware of a frustrated team.
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