- As J.T. Miller continues to impress this preseason I've seen a lot of people wonder about why he hasn't locked up a top six role yet. Maybe he has -- and Alain Vigneault is being coy -- or maybe Vigneault still doesn't trust him. Either way, I don't care where he plays so long as it isn't on the fourth line. I still think a Miller - Kevin Hayes -- Emerson Etem line would do serious damage; especially if they're protected by an Oscar Lindberg - Dominic Moore - Jesper Fast fourth.
- Staying on Miller (who, by the way, I chose as the kid expected to make the biggest jump in today's SB Nation NHL Preview) also scored an amazing goal that needed confidence he might not have had when he was relegated to the fourth line. That aspect to the game is important, and if Miller isn't being dragged around with an anchor anymore that should help, too.
- Etem had his best game of the preseason, continuing to build on the little momentum he's garnered after he stumbled out of the gate. I'm shocked -- I'm not actually shocked -- at the number of media members who aren't giving a young kid any time to adjust to a new system and a new team, while acting as a judge and jury about why he's going to stick around. Tanner Glass is not better than him even on his best day. That's laughable. Etem isn't staying up just because of waivers, either. That's also laughable. One of the two brings something to the team in both the short and the long term, the other doesn't.
- What a horrible showing this preseason was for Kevin Klein by the way. He completely lost his man on the Bruins' opening goal (sound familiar?) and didn't have much of an impact either way. Like I've said before, those aren't the types of mistakes a veteran should be making. And the one kid on the roster who is fighting for his spot isn't making them.
- These are the types of games where you see the other side of Dylan McIlrath. Look, I
never always admit when I'm wrong, and I am being proven wrong by McIlrath this preseason. The strides everyone said he took in the AHL last year, especially in the playoffs, seem to have really made an impact for him. He's easily outplayed both Klein and Raphael Diaz, and I think Diaz has outplayed Klein. Not sure how this is going to play out but is Klein's $2.9-million worth what he brings to the third pairing? Not when the Rangers are this close to the cap ceiling, if you ask me.
- Hockey Stat Miner had a great line about McIlrath and Diaz by the way:
- Viktor Stalberg scored a goal when a puck glanced off his leg thanks to a Ryan McDonagh (two assists) shot, but goal aside he's been one of the better Rangers top to bottom this preseason. Stalberg, justified or not, is probably playing for his life this year so this motivation isn't going to be a come and go thing. I'm excited to see where he goes with it. I'm also excited that he seems to have a magnet in his skates that drags him to the front of the net. He's always gravitating there and he scored two goals this preseason because of it.
- Henrik Lundqvist had probably his best preseason I've ever seen. He is as dialed in as I've ever seen him.
It's October, guys! Hockey is a-coming!