The New York Rangers have trimmed their roster down to 25 players, cutting Dylan McIlrath, Tim Erixon, Ryan Bourque, Carl Hagelin, Dale Weise and Chris Newbury.
That means that both Mats Zuccarello and Michael Del Zotto are still odds-on favorites to earn their spots on the New York Rangers 2011 starting lineup. Andrew Gross is reporting that John Tortorella wants 13 forwards for opening night, and that Erik Christensen and Sean Avery are fighting for that final spot.
The Rangers have kept around Brendan Bell and Stu Bickel, but I assume one of them will be cut once Marc Staal gets back into game shape.
I will be honest with you here: Tim Erixon being cut is a surprise to me. I fully expect him to play for the Connecticut Whale for some of the year to get seasoning, and be a mid-season call-up for the Rangers like Ryan McDonagh was last year.
For Bourque and Hagelin, this wasn't their year to make the team, it's next year when they can shine. Both of them might end up being mid-season call-ups themselves, although we'll have to wait and see on that one. All but McIlrath were assigned to the AHL. McIlrath was sent back down to juniors.
The Rangers will be looking for him to step up next year as well, but he had a fantastic camp and really opened some eyes.
The Rangers official press release is below the jump, along with all the remaining players on the roster.
New York, October 1, 2011 - New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has assigned forwards Ryan Bourque, Carl Hagelin, John Mitchell, Kris Newbury and Dale Weise, and defensemen Tim Erixon and Blake Parlett to Connecticut of the American Hockey League (AHL). Dylan McIlrath has also been assigned to Moose Jaw of the Western Hockey League (WHL).
The Rangers now have 25 players remaining on their active roster, including three goaltenders, eight defensemen and 14 forwards. The Blueshirts will continue their European exhibition schedule tomorrow, October 2 vs. HC Slovan Bratislava in Bratislava, Slovakia (11:00 a.m. ET), before opening their 2011-12 regular season schedule on Friday, October 7 vs. the Los Angeles Kings at Stockholm, Sweden (1:00 p.m. ET), as part of the 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere.