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New York Rangers News: Chris Mueller Assigned To Hartford Wolfpack

The New York Rangers assigned Chris Mueller to the Hartford Wolfpack, which all but confirms that Derek Stepan will be returning on Saturday.

Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

According to an official team release, the New York Rangers have assigned Chris Mueller to the Hartford Wolfpack of the American Hockey League. During his short stint with the team, Mueller had been filling in as an injury replacement on the fourth line, and didn't look out of place at all. In seven games with the Rangers, Mueller tallied just a goal and an assist, while also manning a spot on the Rangers second power play unit.

The biggest takeaway from this demotion is that this essentially confirms that Derek Stepan will officially make his return to lineup on Saturday. Stepan has been skating for the last week or so with the team, and just a few days ago he was finally cleared for contact. Alain Vigneault mentioned that he wanted Stepan to get at least one full practice under his belt, which will happen tomorrow morning prior to taking on the Toronto Maple Leafs.

It will be interesting to see what AV comes up with in terms of lineup combinations heading into Saturday as well. Do you take Derick Brassard off the top line, and flip him with Stepan? What about Kevin Hayes? Does he remain as the number three center, while Dominic Moore goes back down to the fourth line? We'll have to wait and see what tomorrow brings us, but these are certainly good problems to have with a healthy forward group.

For now, thoughts on this?