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Rangers Vs. Blackhawks: Player And Position Evaluations

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Player and position evaluations from Friday night's game.

Bruce Bennett

Matt Hunwick (Say hello to your 7th defenseman): This is one opening that seems completely locked up. Hundwick has gotten better and better with each game he's played, and has blown past Steven Kampfer and Michael Kostka in the race for the open position. Friday night it was his point shot Martin St. Louis deflected for the Rangers' first goal. And on more than a few occasions he was responsible for solid defensive plays that put out some neutral zone fires.

J.T. Miller (Spot locked up): That pass to Ryan Malone for the Rangers' second goal? That was a thing of beauty and a play I don't think Miller would have ever dreamed of making last year. He's easily locked up the 3C role, not much else to say here.

Jesper Fast (Spot locked up, right?): You'd have to think. The professional experience Fast already has under his belt from last year's split time in the AHL and NHL has really shown. He's responsible in his own end and does nice things in the offensive zone, too. He's been nothing but solid since the minute he came to camp. Can't say he hasn't earned it.

Anthony Duclair (Spot locked up?): Duclair didn't register any points but still played a really good game. He created a few chances, had a few of his own and drew a penalty thanks to a fantastic defensive play in the neutral zone. He had a slick attempt stopped in the shootout, but was still as exciting as he's been in the past. I'm not sure how the Rangers are going to do it, but I don't see any logical reason as to why Duclair shouldn't make the team out of camp.

Kevin Hayes (Has he done enough?): Hayes has quietly been getting better and better as the preseason has gone on. You can see that he's going to be special. But has he done enough to make the team out of camp? I don't think he's done enough to jump Miller, but he's really fighting with guys like Malone, Duclair and Fast. Not sure he's beyond them just yet. Even if he doesn't make the team, I still think he'll be with the big club this year.

Malone (Saved by the bell?): Malone had a horrid first 40 minutes -- which was somewhat expected coming off of an injury the past week -- but scored the tying goal with under five minutes left in the third period. He was, of course, hanging around the net -- which is exactly where the Rangers would want him if he did make the team. I'm not sure the Rangers need him to be much more than that player. And I'm not sure he needs to be more than that player to make the team.

Thoughts?