Rangers notebook: Seven D-men dilemma, Lindberg’s progress, West Point outdoor game in 2018? … and more


In case you missed it, there was some big, big blog news in the post below. So scroll down to see it. Or click here. But don’t miss it again.

Going to have a bunch of season preview stuff coming up, starting with — probably — my new colleague Andrew Gross’s league preview. Then perhaps some news from Rangers practice regarding their roster move — I still think the logical move is to temporarily demote Brady Skjei until they can figure out what to do with Dylan McIlrath.

I will have my Rangers previews and predictions after that, mostly on the new blog format (yikes), which is scheduled to debut Wednesday (double yikes).


RANGERS NOTEBOOK: Rangers to keep seven D-men, so a move is coming

The Rangers, according to coach Alain Vigneault, are likely to start the season with only one spare forward and, for cap considerations, one spare defenseman, meaning at least one more roster move will happen Tuesday.

All NHL teams must have their salary cap-compliant, 23-man maximum rosters submitted by 5 p.m. Tuesday. Those rosters are fluid – teams can always make changes to them.

The Rangers, who open their season Thursday against the Islanders at the Garden, had 24 players on the roster as of practice Monday, and that included Oscar Lindberg (who will start the season on injured reserve, and thus not count against the 23 maximum), and it included eight defensemen.

To get down to seven defensemen, the logical move would be to demote rookie Brady Skjei, however temporarily, to Hartford of the AHL. Skjei, who had a difficult training camp and preseason, is the only Rangers defenseman who would not require waivers to be sent down.

That would leave the Rangers with three natural lefties (Ryan McDonagh, Marc Staal and Nick Holden) and four righties (Dan Girardi, Kevin Klein, Adam Clendening and Dylan McIlrath). Then the opening night decision would be whether Clendening or McIrath plays.

“Dylan, I thought, played well during training camp,” Vigneault said. “The games that he was asked to play, he played to his strengths. He’s trying to get better every day, with andn without the puck. He’s given it his best. He’s worked extremely hard, very professional, works hard in the gym and is trying to put his best foot forward.

Vigneault said he still has not decided on his fourth line, which will likely be composed of three of these: Josh Jooris, Jesper Fast, Michael Grabner and Brandon Pirri.

OSCAR ALMOST READY: Lindberg, recovering from summer hip surgery, is still two to four weeks away from returning, and on his target of being back at some point in November. Lindberg has been fully cleared for contact and has been practicing with the team.

“Anything ahead of (November) is a bonus,” he said. “It’s good to be back with the boys. Skating-wise I feel good. I don’t have any pain or anything.”

VIGNEAULT WON’T SAY BOO: Prospect Cristoval “Boo” Nieves had two strong games in Hartford over the weekend and the Rangers are considering putting him on the opening-night roster.

Nieves, bigger and faster than he was in the past, opened eyes at the Traverse City prospects tournament last month, and might have made the team if he hadn’t suffered a likely concussion there. He was limited to one preseason game with the Rangers.

“I would say 50/50 right now,” Vigneault said. “I would say more no than yes.”

It was pointed out to him that would make it less than 50/50, Vigneault laughed, “That was French math.

“But in the back of my mind here, I’ve got him, because I heard he played so well in Traverse City and the one game he was able to play for us … I like that size and I like that skating.”

KLEIN MAINTENANCE: Kevin Klein did not practice, having been given a “maintenance day.” Lindberg skated in his place on defense.



An NHL game outdoors at West Point’s Michie Stadium?

If it happens, count the Rangers’ players in, especially the eight Americans on the roster.

According to a report by Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada this past weekend, the NHL has interest in, and has begun the process of considering West Point as a potential site for Winter Classic-type event, perhaps in 2018, at the U.S. Military Academy’s football stadium.

Army Black Knights Vs Air Force Falcons, College Football at West Point, New York

Michie Stadium

Historic Michie Stadium, which holds 38,000 spectators, opened in 1924, two years before the Rangers were founded – the coming season to be their 90th anniversary season.

“Cool,” said Chris Kreider. “It would be amazing. Honestly, what we do is trivial compared to what they do, so it would be cool to just be in that kind of environment.

“If we are granted that opportunity, I just hope we win,” he laughed.

“It would be really cool,” Derek Stepan added. “Those games are so much fun, those outdoor games. I would say that one a year is enough, and the year we did two was a bit of overload, but one a year, if you get the opportunity to be part of those outdoor games, they’re really fun.

“To be able to go do it at West Point would be something really special.”

The caveat, as was the case when the Rangers played a pair of “Stadium Series” games at Yankee Stadium in the 2013-14 season, is that the Rangers cannot be the home team in any venue other than Madison Square Garden per the terms of their agreement with New York City for tax exempt status. Hence they were the visitors against the Islanders and Devils at Yankee Stadium. They also played a Winter Classic game at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park in 2012. They won all three.

The Rangers had planned to do some training and team-bonding at West Point prior to last season, but that was scuttled due to bad weather.

The Devils and Florida Panthers played a preseason game at Army’s Tate Rink Saturday.

The Rangers just completed a weekend of team-building with the NYPD and first responders, which included tours of the World Trade Center site and memorial museum.

Twitter: @RangersReport.

Photos by Getty Images.




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  1. Hi carp and all. Im so sad but thankful for all the conversations from years prior. I hope everyone is well. I do have a facebook but dont think i want to link it to the blog. Ill still be visiting and reading of course. Ill miss those that wont be around. Happy you are traveling Carp. Take care.

  2. Who knew? First Tony from AZ…now this….sad times on the best Rangers blog to ever exist. Not sure this particular Europansy will even be able to post given Facebook is blocked in our office, but i will still read and if i can save up some pennies for a trip across the pond for a game or two i shall email the Blogfather Carp

  3. Good idea, CR Egg.
    Friend request will be sent.
    I am now on the Facebook as, wait for it,
    See Dubb

  4. Good morning, boneheads!
    Atta boy, SEEDUBB!
    For the record, I don’ think yo need to have 4 friends in order to start posting. I don’t think you need any friends. I’ve been test posting on the Yankees LoHud blog, along with CCCP and Carp, without having to show any friends

  5. Facebook wouldn’t let me create an account with about a dozen fake names I came up with. Those names were some of my best work. Jealous of Seeedubbbs right now. Gonna have to get more creative I guess. I will defeat the machine.

  6. ILB, SEEDUBB.. you shouldn’t need to have friends on FB. I don’t have any, been posting comments without any problems. Overall, we will see how the NY Rangers blog will be once the new site is up and running.
    Carp – did you manage to meet Amanda Borges? The, apparently, new team reporter for the New York Rangers?

  7. It’ll take some time to adjust, but we’ll be just fine. You can actually delete your own post too. There are some other cool features

  8. As for 7 D-men. I think they need to figure out what they have in Clendening before trading McIlrath. I’m not convinced his PP prowess is worth his defensive shortcomings. I think he is awful in his own zone, especially under pressure.

  9. Maybe they think Clendening is a find like Stralman. I think he is closer to Diaz than Stralman. He won’t last more than a month.

  10. clendening is a journeyman – 5 teams already or something – so if sent down I dont think its too awful to expose to waivers

    this reminds me so much of the poor insight when the choice was Diaz vs Macilrath
    or 2 years ago – Sheppard vs Glass

    AV just gets in a rut and seems to choose his own way of doing things

    There is no way this group stays healthy enough to make Macilwrath expendable part

    Brady certainly needs some more developement time in AHL, hes gonna be good, but we cant force the process. He showed something last playoffs, sure, but he already had the whole season behind him for his timing etc, now he needs to reboot and make that jump to being a bonafide NHLer where he can bring it consistently

  11. Still Boiled by FB & NHLDPS on

    Foul language is allowed on Facebook, what will happen here with moderation? I wish the moderation could be adjusted to bounce any comments with any political text.

  12. See Dubb
    Got the request

    I hope/doubt that the 4 friends will be a necessary thing for people, but it may be part of the “new” website rules and not just follow the Yankees site format, so better safe than sorry

    it actually is a decent way to keep “fakes” away as it takes some work to get the 4

    so…to all the boneheads, look us up and request us as friends and it will be a Carp Community

    Cregg Graves

  13. I will create a Facebook account in order to continue to post on Carp’s blog. It’s been long overdue for me to create an account on Facebook, perhaps this is the impetus to do so.

  14. Friendly reminder. Whatever device you use, don’t forget to log off on it from your main Facebook account and log into your…ahem…boneheads account. Otherwise your posts will have your real first and last name.
    If you make a mistake, you can delete your post.

  15. Milo, Amanda Borges has that Fox News look. Won’t be long before she is snatched away by Team Trump.

  16. BDL- while I totally understand why Vesey is with Stepan and Nash is with Hayes/Miller, I doubt AV sees Nash as a third line player.

  17. On the D situation, I hope that AV does not make the same mistakes that were made by Torts regarding DelZ. The kid was young and had his chain jerked a lot. Rather they send Skjei back down until the trade deadline for the additional grooming so that when he does come back up everybody is comfortable with him being a regular. And by that time G may need a wheel chair and Staal a walker. Any way, been fun kids, see you again if the blog ever moves away from FB.

  18. If the coach has no room in his heart or lineup for Dylan McIlrath, there’s nothing we can do. It is what it is. I happen to respectfully disagree, especially being that the alternatives are:

    1) Playing Dan Girardi more than he should
    2) Having your safety-valve be a journeyman “offenseman” who’s been on more teams than he’s had professional seasons.

    I know Clendening supposedly fits AV’s “up-tempo” style. But hey, I guess that’s why Staal and Girardi get 20 minutes a night!

    Again, poor move in my opinion. But if he has to go, maybe they’ll at least get a pick. Since whoever is getting him will need to keep him in their NHL lineup, he’s a former R1, AND he’s signed to a very cap-friendly deal for a 5/6…I think we can get an R3. The trick will be convincing our trade partner that we’re willing to let him pass through waivers if we don’t get what we want, and that teams below them have interest.

    And even though some good players have cleared in the past few days, he’s a cheap young right-shot defenseman who showed he can play decent minutes in this league. He gets claimed in a second.

  19. The other thing about McIlrath is that he has to play at least 42 games this season ( regular and playoffs) or else he becomes a Group VI UFA next summer.

  20. leetchhalloffame on

    Boo & McIlrath belong on this team that is looking for youth. I blame the “Henrik window closing” for the current mentality of management even though we all know winning a Cup during his tenure is highly unlikely. Play the kids and move on to the next era or Rangers hockey. Henrik, Girardi, Staal, Klein – move ’em out of here. Emile Francis would.

  21. CARP – Amanda Borges used to work as the Jacksonville Jaguars Reporter and On-Air Host for 1010XL.

    As of yesterday she is in the NYC. Looks like she’ll start working for the Rangers when the news season begins. Her job was announced (don’t remember via whom) sometime last month. Not sure what exactly her job duties as a team reporter for the organisation will be though…

    Well, may be we’ll see her in a few days time in action (?)

    From what I saw she is active on Twitter and FB…

  22. True story re: Dylan needing those games or else he’s an UFA.

    If AV doesn’t think he can get McIlrath into that many games…that makes it murkier.

    I agree with Carp. Send Skjei down. Let’s not force a move until Skjei forces one imho.

  23. OLGA

    Shoot me an email, please. I’d love to stay in touch if the family isn’t migrating with some of us to the newfoundland :)

    You too, please.
    I wish you guys reconsider and come along. What’s the big deal?

    MY EMAIL: ODESSITBK@MSN.COM. Whoever wants to keep in touch I’ll be glad to throw bull-s around

  24. I didn’t get a “atta boy” from Carp when I said I was coming along :(
    Add me to the list Carp hates, I guess.

  25. Why rush things? Let McIlrath play see what he has got. They need more toughness on the backline. I know Carp does not agree with this. But having 1 real tough D man is not such a bad thing. Can’t they keep 8 D men for a little bit or are they over the Cap?

  26. Dylan Mac didn’t have the GREATEST camp, true. But Skjei, who was an absolute shoe-in all summer, played his way out of that position. I just have a hard time seeing the logic in throwing away Dylan McIlrath, who at worst can be our 7th defenseman, in order to save a spot for a kid who might not be ready, and could be better served getting 1D minutes in Hartford. I have no doubt that if this is true, Skjei will right the ship and be ready by December/January. So no need to quickly scramble for someone’s table scraps just so we can throw McIlrath away like he’s Mattias Norstrom or something.

  27. Stranger Nation on

    Dylan is needed as Done Girardi insurance and Don Clendenon reality. His lateral movement is sub-optimal but ironically, his play with the puck was better than anyone not named McD and Klein. Can get his shot off and near the net, makes a decent break out. If Girardi was making $1.5M it would not even be a close decision. Don’t think they care if they lose him if used less than 42 games, not going to use, might as well lose him.
    Thanks Uncle Glennie!!

  28. I’m gonna hang the head of this FB guy on a door knob. U understand me SeeDubb?

  29. Carp, or any other helpful denizens of the blog,

    Do you know if the new blog format will continue to offer an RSS feed as the current one does?

  30. I agree with you leetchhalloffame as much as I want to see this Ranger team with Hank win a cup, the truth is it ain’t gonna happen. It is time to turn the page. I would add Nash and Zucc to that list! Build with the core. Nolan Patrick is on the horizon, younger, bigger, faster, is the way to go!

  31. Cross Check Charlie on

    I would hate to be the one to make the roster decisions. It’s a tough thing to do, but I guess that’s why AV makes the big bucks. I also do not watch the games and “evaluate” a guy’s play. If they stand out one way or another then I’ll notice them, but it’s not like I watch film of games like the coaches do.
    As a fan I’d like to see both McIlrath and Skjei on the team. I know all games count toward making the playoffs, but I don’t think Skjei going to Hartford and playing against inferior competition is going to help him more than playing in the NHL. I want to see McIlrath because of his toughness and willingness to clear the crease. Maybe he keeps Hank from getting run over a few times.
    When was the last time the Rangers had three rookie forwards on the team? If Boo is called up, he, Buch and Vesey are all rookies. I don’t remember that many rookies on the team in like…forever.
    Is Skjei still considered a rookie? I don’t think he played enough last season to be counted as a vet. If he is, that would make 4 rookies on the team.

  32. Carp – Is there any truth to the rumor that the entire NHL Department of (Lack of) Player Safety is heading to Pittsburgh to investigate which Penguin is getting suspended for concussing Sidney? Is it possible that Radko Gudas was seen in the vicinity?

  33. Doodie Machetto on

    It’s good he gets practice for that leadership role so he can be the first captain of the Las Vegas Blank Knights

  34. Hearing my Skjei speculation was wrong. That Skjei will be on opening night roster. So to get to seven, somebody else has to go. … also, Klein not practicing for second straight day, so there has to be concern over his availability Thursday.

  35. So what if McIlrath becomes a UFA, then you resign him. How you can choose to lose him for a draft pick when you have an entire season ahead of you is not a wise move.

    Especially when you have a season ahead of you that includes a defense that is injury prone.

    I bet Shay gets sent down or Clendening is waived.

  36. I have to think that if McIlrath stays with us and makes it to UFA, he won’t be looking to resign here. Especially if AV is still the coach. I’m sure they like each other personally, but AV’s made it abundantly clear he has no use for DM.

    Now if they have a clear-cut plan for being Girardi-less by this time next year, I think Dylan McIlrath needs to be in your immediate plans for the next 2-3 seasons.

  37. If the preseason on-ice fire drill hockey transfers over to the regular season, perhaps AV won’t be around.

  38. In the remote chance that the latest rumors of Shattenkirk to NYR are true we better not be giving up Klein.

  39. Klein still makes the most sense to trade, if you are looking to make a move. I would have looked into trading him last year for a forward, because that’s where they needed the most help. Forward is not a need anymore, so I am not on the trade Klein kick I was last year. Still if there is a move, he is the most logical guy to go.

  40. Cross check Charlie on

    I haven’t kept up with Shattenkirk’s situation. Why don’t the Blues think they can resign him after this season? Cap reasons or his asking price will be more than his production?

  41. Rob in Beantown on

    Alternate captains are now Step, Nash, Staal, and Girardi? Was there somebody else who was one last year?

  42. Doodie Machetto on

    Seems pretty obvious that Mcllrath is done here, by waivers or otherwise.

    For the last time, we should have taken Fowler. Yes, I get Tarasenko was also available, but Fowler was the horse I backed then.

  43. CROSS CHECK CHARLIE … Blues think they have cheaper replacements. Also the rise of Paryko makes Shattenkirk expendable … he’s also not looking to give them a hometown discount, NY is his hometown. If he stays with the Blues, he tests the free market … he gets traded where he wants to go, he signs an extension more likely than not. Obviously he has greater value as a long term sign, as opposed to a 1 year rental.

  44. if Skjei opens the year in the line-up against the Isles, then I will concede that Dylan Mac is on the block most likely … at the very least “available”..
    But with Girardi and now Klein hurting and who knows about Staal, I think it wise for Jeff G. to hold on a while ..
    Send Skjei down .. just do it… No such thing as a raw rookie’s spot being a “Lock” based on five decent PO games and 10-12 other total NHL games.. OK, if people expect him to shine .. That’d be great .. but he has to show us the goods !! and I can live with it if they decide to get him in there right away… perhaps early-on is the time to gamble on him..
    Personally, like DaveB mentioned, I send him to CT for many many minutes and when he is playing well and confidently, then consider bringing him back up …
    Losing Dylan Mac for cheap will bite NYR if/when some other of the regulars gets hurt or just can’t hack it .. the NYR buy-price for a decent D-man will shoot up big since there won’t be the Dylan Mac option..

  45. OPTIMUSCRIME, based on my experience with the Lohud Yankees blog, an RSS feed will not be available. This whole FB thing sucks. Should have went with disqus or Kinja..

  46. Doodie Machetto on

    Tarasenko was the best choice in hindsight, but Fowler was the one I, and many others, thought it should be as the draft unfolded. Even St. Louis passed on Tarasenko!

  47. I wanted Jaden Schwartz at the time. In hindsight, would love to have Charlie Coyle on this team after seeing him develop.

  48. for those who will be going over to FB but don’t want to provide a phone number, you might want to try using the Burner app on your phone. It generates anonymous numbers. I won’t be joining yall but thought it might be worth a shot for some of yous

  49. Klein with his yearly injury. He’s no puppy. I am ready for them to move on from McIlrath. When he is with another team, we will find out what he can be. Steady, mean top 6, or future career AHLer

  50. Looking at the Pack roster, they seem to be stronger on D then up front.
    Bodie, Graves, Gilmour, Summers, and Anderson all on the team. Up front the main guys are.
    Jensen, Boo, Kovacs, Stromwal, and Hrivek. Looks like Fogarty made the team, and Gropp did not. Gerbe did not report.

  51. Sioux I wanted Tarasenko for the #10 pick. USA vs Russia in the U18 Gold game the kid stole the show. USA won the game, but the best player in the building for that tournament was Tarasenko.
    Fowler was the pick on defense, as the 2nd highest Dman rated in the draft.
    10 teams at that tournament, all playing their “best” players 18 and under, and the Rangers draft a player that wasn’t even in the tournament. Ugh!

  52. Widget, like the rest of this stuff, is not my call. Sadly. Way over my pay scale.

    I have no idea what time. In fact, this whole thing, I was told, was happening Sept. 14. So …

  53. Last year I went back to check my Draft Preview and i was surprised to see that I had/wanted the Rangers to draft Tarasenko. One of the few times I was correct :-) IIRC, I think I liked McIlrath, but felt the Rangers would be reaching for him at that spot.

  54. Lots of talent when you look at all the names that went in the 1’st round in 2010.
    6 All Stars already, add in Nelson, Grandlund, Schwartz, Hayes, Niederreiter, Fowler, and Gudbranson.
    Bennett has his name on the Cup after last year.

  55. Re: Fowler … if we drafted him we would have Del Zotto 2.0 only taken with the 10th pick, not the 20th like DZ. He would be raked over the coals everyday. His +/- is twice as bad and his point totals are actually less than DZ … I can just imagine how that would be going over right about now.

  56. Yep. Fowler wasn’t the pick to make there. None of the other defenseman in that class impress me. Even Gudbranson who went highest….he’s an obsolete brand of player. Gormley, tinordi, forbort…nothing. Pysyk might be alright, but for some reason he’s immune from all the “he took too long to develop” talk that Dylan got.
    I’ll regret not getting Tarasenko, or even Schwartz or Bjugstad. Not Fowler.

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