Our friend Andrew Gross has the line combinations for the New York Rangers first preseason tilt of the season. Below are the lines for the game against the New Jersey Devils.
Brandon Dubinsky-Artem Anisimov-Dale Weise
Carl Hagelin-Erik Christensen-Christian Thomas
Sean Avery-John Mitchell-J.T. Miller
Ryan Bourque-Shane McColgan-Andre Deveaux
Dan Girardi-Brendan Bell
Michael Del Zotto-Steve Eminger
Tim Erixon-Dylan McIlrath
As we noted a few days ago, that's a pretty good mix of prospects and veterans. I'm excited to see how J.T. Miller, Ryan Bourque, Christian Thomas, Carl Hagelin, Tim Erixon and Dylan McIlrath handle the upgrade from the Traverse City Tournament to an NHL preseason game.
Below the jump are some notes on the game.
- Bourque, who was easily one of the most improved Rangers' prospects in the Traverse City Tournament, needs to keep that momentum going through the preseason. He did a little of everything in Traverse City, and if he wants a good look at camp he'll need to continue that play tonight. Expect Bourque to block shots, kill penalties and hustle up and down the ice. Whether or not that will be enough to earn him a longer stay in the preseason has yet to be seen.
- Thomas is another player who impressed at Traverse City, and will look to continue impressing tonight and through the preseason. He'll need to shoot the puck a little bit more, but if he plays the way he did in Traverse City no one would complain.
- Tim Erixon was dominant in Traverse City. Now he'll need to show he can be dominant in an NHL preseason game as well. Erixon had his way with inexperienced forwards during the tournament, but it will be a different story tonight. If Erixon can string together a few solid games, he might lock himself into one of the open defenseman slots sooner rather than later.
- Del Zotto will get his first opportunity to show he's ready to play for the big club this year. Del Zotto has said all the right things this offseason about how he's changes his mindset and how he is working harder. He can talk the talk, now let's see if he can walk the walk.