Larry Brooks at the New York Post reports that Carl Hagelin has returned to New York to work with a strength and conditioning man rather than complete trip with team. Brooks adds that this was a scheduled trip and not a setback.
...i guess I should trust the Rangers medical staff on this but after what happened with Boogaard as well as other questionable decisions with player concussions (see Staal and Nash), I'm not so sure.
Brooks also says if Darroll Powe ends up making the team, Taylor Pyatt and maybe even Chris Kreider's roster spots could be in jeopardy.
...no way Kreider isn't in the opening day line-up, but between Powe and Pyatt I have to say not only is Powe having the better preseason, he's also more valuable as he's good on faceoffs and can play on the penalty kill.
Finally, Brooks says because of the Rangers cap situation, it is likely the Blueshirts only go with seven defensemen to start the season instead of the eight Alain Vigneault would like.
...whatever. The Rangers AHL team is in Hartford, so if they need an eighth defensemen it wouldn't be hard to get him to the game in time. And how often are there two freak injuries to defensemen during warmups?
...even with just seven, I'd still rather see Allen, who has that spot locked up, in Hartford getting big minutes. So the final D position should come down to Falk and Bickel and with Bickel carrying a salary that's $250,000 less, the much maligned bruiser could actually find himself on the opening night roster.
Speaking of the cap having an effect on the Rangers, Pat Leonard at the Daily News does a tremendous job breaking it down. Here's a snippet...
"If Stepan is not signed by the time rosters are set on Monday at 3 p.m. – and if the Rangers wish to use the LTI exception to free money to sign Stepan afterward – they must place Callahan on LTI. That would keep the captain ineligible for 10 regular season games and 24 calendar days, but it would mean the Rangers could spend up to his $4.275 million salary in temporary replacement.
Now here is the biggest problem with this conclusion: Callahan is a bit ahead of Hagelin in his rehab. LTI would make Callahan ineligible until Oct. 29, but my humble opinion is he will be ready to return much sooner than that, say Oct. 19 at the Devils, perhaps.
Hagelin is not shooting on net at full strength yet, so if someone does go on LTI, I think it only can be him.
So what does this mean?
It means that the Rangers’ only real way to take advantage of the LTI exception, provided Callahan will be back sooner, is to first sign Stepan and then place Hagelin on LTI to have an extra $2.25 million to play with in replacement player(s)."
Leonard adds that the reason the Rangers can't place Hagelin on LTI before signing Stepan is because replacement player’s salary and bonuses may not exceed those of the player on LTI. So if Hagelin were the player to go on LTI, Stepan would not be able to make more than $2.25 million. Which we know isn't an option.
...ouch, my head hurts after reading this. Bottom line is by hook or by crook the Rangers can find room to sign Stepan and even have some cap space left over. So what's the problem?
Getting off-track a little bit... now that we've had another training camp to evaluate our system, I would have to say that Miller is our best prospect, with Kreider, Mcillrath and Allen the next worthy. This leads me to suggest that the Rangers explore what it would take to get M. Subban from the Bruins before someone else does. Boston can't possibly be serious about keeping him after giving Rask an eight year contract, and he would fill a position of need for us if we're not stupid about Lundqvist's next contract (hopfully a 4 year/$7.5M ). Subban's idol is Lundqvist and it would be great to see him develop under him.
Step is signing. Cally has a history of healing quickly so he's staying. Hags needs time so he's going on 10 game DL. Stu is cheap and can fill in here and there at forward as well as D. Is serviceable and can add toughness and drop the gloves so he's staying. End of story. These other guys will get needed playing time in Hartford and some will come up to fill spots when needed but it looks like opening day roster is set. LGR.
@TheNYRBlog how do the Penguins do it, no really, how?
I'm not so sure Kreider is a lock anymore. At the beginning of pre-season maybe he was. But then the kids started playing pretty well and Miller in one game has had a larger impact than Kreider all pre-season. He is still young and as long as we can still use that excuse we'll let his play slide. Sooner or later he's gonna have to show that talent or else someone else will show they're more valuable to the team. If he doesn't make an impression soon you have to wonder if he would be put in the AHL. We say Fast and Lindberg could use grooming on the smaller ice surface in the AHL...why not Kreider spending a full season down there which he hasn't had yet? Plus, Kreider's cap hit is marginally higher than Miller but a lot higher than Fast, Lindberg and Hrivik.
As for Powe, I've been saying he's had a strong pre-season. I think it's silly to say he'll automatically be one of the guys sent to the Whale. Yes our PK has looked good with a blend of kids and vets, but when it comes down to it I'd feel a helluva lot more comfortable with Powe killing a penalty than Lindberg. Especially with the possibility of no Callahan and Stepan. Pyatt should be concerned, especially with his $1.5 cap hit. One thing is Pyatt and AV have history in Van. So we'll see what happens.
So if stepan doesn't sign by Monday he is hurting the team even more and taking away callys playing time. He better sign or the captain is going to be pissed
Threw this up in the headlines, but no one reads the comments there: Does anyone know what the Rangers travel plans are after Friday Night's matchup in Vegas? They'll have 5 days off before they open the season in Phoenix. They've been in the Mountain/West time zome now for a entire week, and basically need to be for the next 2 weeks until they play the Ducks on 10/10, before heading to St Louis. 3+ weeks is a long time to be away from home and family, but based on performance to-date, I'd expect they'd continue training out west, rather than have everyone fly back to NYC for 2-3 days to then fly back to Phoenix, miss out on practice time and screw with their internal clocks.
@AG_Blue I see Falk at $970K and Bickel at $750K.
@FREE LINDBERG The Captain's getting upset!
@johnnyb3910 I asked Zipay this question on twitter yesterday, he seemed to think they were coming back to NY for a few days and then flying back to Phoenix.
@johnnyb3910 You know what, I have no idea. You'd think they'd stay out there, but who knows.
@boogiepicker Obviously just my opinion, but I think, despite a lackluster start to the preseason, he's still better than LIndberg, Fast, Miller and Hrivik.
@johnnyb3910 Ok, Zipay apparently reported the other day that the team was flying back to NY immediately after the Vegas game Friday night.
@KevinDeLury @boogiepicker He's worrying me. I was expecting him to come out roaring. Not that he hasn't played hard but he hasn't played well. Those two penalties vs. the Oilers didn't help. I'd agree that he's probably better than Lindberg, Fast, and Hrivik and I'm getting ahead of myself because seeing them play in only 3 preseason games and I'm calling for them to be our 3rd line. But I do actually think Miller is better than Kreids. He's more physical and he's not afraid to get dirty. Kreids still has that hesitation when it comes to playing physical.
@boogiepicker @KevinDeLury I think he should be a lock on paper but not sure it is the same story on the ice. He has me worried. He has all the tools but does not seem to know how to use them yet. I love when he starts hitting and crashing the net but he needs to do it every shift. Not as big a fan of his board work. Almost never see him win a loose puck battle and he gives up the puck way to easily. With that big body he should be hard to get off the puck. Still hoping he pulls it together!