As we close in on the 24 hour mark before the puck officially drops on the 2013 regular season, the New York Rangers announced their opening night roster according to ESPN New York. All teams are required to submit their 23-man rosters by 5:00 PM tonight in preparation for tomorrow afternoon. The only tweak the Rangers made to their roster was calling up Brandon Segal from the Connecticut Whale. Segal will start on the fourth line for the Rangers as they open up against the Bruins.
Arron Asham will be inactive due to an outstanding one game suspension that carried over from the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Another interesting change, but not completely surprising is Marian Gaborik starting out on the second line with Derek Stepan and Ryan Callahan. Although many people wanted to see the big three from the start, this only makes the Rangers more dangerous up front. Now you have two lethal scoring lines by splitting up the talent instead of front loading the top line.
Gaborik is no stranger to this threesome either. He played quite a bit with Stepan throughout last season when the GAS line was in full effect. This line also saw some time with each other throughout the playoffs, so chemistry won't be much of an issue with these guys. At least not yet.
Carl Hagelin was expected to, and will start out on the top line with Brad Richards, and Rick Nash. Hagelin has tremendous speed in the corners, and has worked on protecting the puck more and making stronger plays from behind the goal line. Combined that with Nash/Richards and this line can do some serious damage.
Now we move down to the third line which will feature Chris Kreider, Brian Boyle, and Taylor Pyatt. This has the potential to be a solid grinding and puck possession line. Kreider and Pyatt both have some wheels to out work their opponents, while Boyle focuses on using mainly his size to shield the puck. I'm really interested to see what this line can do tomorrow night.
Finally we have the fourth line, which will feature a new face, Brandon Segal. Segal has been solid all year with the Connecticut Whale, and I expect that he will continue that with the New York Rangers. He's the type of guy Tortorella would love to keep on his team. He's exceptionally strong in the corners, and doesn't get bumped off of the puck easily at all. I think Segal will open some eyes tomorrow, not with flashy moves either, just with his puck control down low.
Overall, the roster is looking pretty solid heading into tomorrow night when they faceoff against the Boston Bruins. It would be pretty awesome to see these guys firing on all cylinders from the get go. Here are the full line combinations.
Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - Rick Nash
Marian Gaborik - Derek Stepan - Ryan Callahan
Chris Kreider - Brian Boyle - Taylor Pyatt
Mike Rupp - Jeff Halpern - Brandon Segal
Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Marc Staal - Anton Stralman
Michael Del Zotto - Stu Bickel