Here’s my story from The Journal News and LoHud.com:
By Rick Carpiniello
GREENBURGH – You could look at the Rangers’ moves on Monday as shuffling deck chairs, moving around a lot of spare parts.
They could have zero impact whatsoever.
Very clearly, though it’s early, the Rangers’ organization sees its roster as having holes, especially with captain Ryan Callahan injured and rookie Chris Kreider hurt (and prior to that ineffective).
So the Rangers did some dancing with their roster after Monday’s practice – in which both Callahan and Kreider skated in no-contact jerseys.
They traded veteran winger Mike Rupp – a very popular guy among his peers, but an aging, slowing, less effective fourth liner and fighter – to Minnesota for wingers Darroll Powe, expected to be a penalty-killer and role player with a little bite in his game, and Nick Palmieri, who was immediately assigned to Connecticut of the AHL.
The Rangers weren’t finished there. They called up 2011 first-round draft pick, center J.T. Miller, 19 and coming off the USA’s gold medal at the World Junior Championships, and 6-4, 230-pound left winger Brandon Mashinter, who was acquired from San Jose a couple of weeks ago. Recently-acquired Benn Ferriero, who was quickly demoted to the fourth line, was also sent to Connecticut.
That’s a lot of changes for a 4-4 team coming off its best game of the season (a 3-2 win in Tampa Saturday) and headed into its first meeting of the season against the arch-rival Devils, the team that eliminated the Rangers from the Eastern Conference finals last spring. More could be coming.
Don’t get too excited over the Miller promotion. The kid is still seen as an enormous prospect for the organization, but he will have to really shine to stay once Callahan is healthy, and if Kreider returns to the lineup upon being cleared. They won’t keep him around for giggles.
But if Miller can help, and who knows if Mashinter can actually play at this level … well, sometimes moves like these cause sparks. The call-ups of Ryan McDonagh, Carl Hagelin, even Stu Bickel and Kreider, over the last couple of years brought immediate rewards to the Rangers.
Let’s face it, though. With the Rick Nash addition and the free agency turnover over the summer, the Rangers lost a lot of their lineup and their identity in Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Brandon Prust, Ruslan Fedotenko and even John Mitchell.
Depth wasn’t supposed to be a problem until Kreider started miserably and Hagelin and Derek Stepan and Brian Boyle struggled, and then Callahan got hurt.
Now it’s all reshuffled. We’ll find out if different is better.
J.T. Miller photo by Getty Images.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is what happens when you get news from Twitter, where reporting goes to die. I earlier wrote what I had read, that Miller burns a year of his entry-level contract if he plays five games this year. But Miller is already a pro. I’m pretty sure he’s burning that year already. The ELC thing has to do with junior players, not minor leaguers. I am checking it out now).
In the meantime, one of our most knowledgeable readers, CTBlueshirt, gives us this interpretation:
If a player aged 18 or 19 signs an entry-level contract with a club (with his age calculated on Sept. 15 of the year he signed the contract) but does not play in at least 10 NHL games, the contract will “slide” or be extended one year. The extension does not apply if the player turns 20 between Sept. 16 and Dec. 31 in the year he signed the contract.
Depending on the contract’s structure, the player’s cap hit can be affected either by an increase or a decrease. Players who sign at age 18 can have their contract extended (or “slide”) two seasons.
CBA reference: Section 9.1 (d) (P. 23-24)
*Amended to 5 games this season.