Late last night Jim Cerny and the New York Rangers spoiled the roster for tonight's road game against the Philadelphia Flyers.
New York Rangers (@NYRangers) September 22, 2015
Tonight we'll be getting our first look at two of the Rangers' most noteworthy offseason additions. Emerson Etem and Jarret Stoll will take to the ice as Blueshirts for the first time against the Flyers in the Rangers' road whites at 7:00 PM. Stoll will be wearing #26 and Etem will be wearing #96. We'll also be getting a second look at a few key players fighting for roster spots including Viktor Stalberg, Oscar Lindberg, and one of the two veteran AHL forwards that had a sensational performance on the Garden ice.
Magnus Hellberg and Antti Raanta
Dylan McIlrath, Kevin Klein, Brett Bellemore, Mat Bodie, Ryan Mantha, Raphael Diaz, Ryan Graves
Jarret Stoll, J.T. Miller, Kevin Hayes, Luke Adam, Jayson Megna, Oscar Lindberg, Viktor Stalberg, Ryan Bourque, Kirill Kabanov, Richard Nejezchleb, Jayden Hart, Emerson Etem
The Rangers are sending seven defensemen to Philadelphia so we won't get to see all of the names on that list take the ice tonight, but we will hopefully get our second good look at one of the two standouts for the team's first preseason victory. I'm talking, of course, about Jayson Megna. Or as I like to call him "Superfluous Y" Megna. No good? Yeah, I'll workshop it.
But let's make sure we take a minute to talk about Brian Gibbons.
When I was breaking down the key preseason battles to keep an eye on about two weeks ago I brought up veteran forward Brian Gibbons' name as a dark horse to make the roster. The way Gibbons played last night (we should, of course, take a sample size of one preseason game with a large grain of salt) certainly made my tongue-in-cheek analysis of his chances to make the roster look profoundly ignorant, and I couldn't be happier. Both Gibbons (27 years old), and Jayson Megna (25 years old) are established AHL veterans that were added in the offseason during the annual turnover of the Wolf Pack's roster. Megna and Gibbons synergized wonderfully and had the Devils on their heels whenever they took to the ice, it was a pleasure to see even in a preseason game.
If Gibbons and Megna play half as well as they did last night players like Jarret Stoll, Tanner Glass, Viktor Stalberg, and Oscar Lindberg might start sweating long before they step onto the ice. More competition in training camp is never a bad thing, it's just means a hotter fire in the forge that will eventually produce the 2015-16 Rangers' roster.
A group of ten Rangers from last night's victory will be back on the ice tonight including both of the European-born goaltenders who are in a friendly competition for the role of Lundqvist's understudy. The eight skaters that will be back on the ice for some more exhibition hockey tonight are Dylan McIlrath, Kevin Klein, Luke Adam, Jayson Megna, Oscar Lindberg, Viktor Stalberg, Ryan Bourque, and Raphael Diaz. As we discussed before last night's game, the coaching staff is making sure to focus on a group of 4-6 forwards in the first two games of the preseason before the first wave of cuts are made. Look for these players in particular to play exceptional, hungry hockey in an effort to keep a locker room stall at lest a little bit longer.
Oscar Lindberg picked up a heads-up goal last night and played a very strong two-way game. I'm glad we'll be getting to see him back on the ice tonight. Chris Kreider led all Rangers in ice time with 15:56 which goes to show the coaching staff's effort to make sure everyone saw plenty of ice but I'm personally hoping we see Lindberg in more of a featured role tonight along with Stoll, Etem, and Stalberg.
Young Dylan McIlrath was relatively quiet outside of this dangerous and reckless hit to Tyler Kennedy. He did look a bit more comfortable in his own zone than he did the last time he was wearing a Blueshirt, but he can't make mistakes like his hit on Kennedy which he should be very thankful didn't result in an injury. McIlrath's aggression should be put to the test against the Flyers tonight. I'd like to see him have to make more decisions with the puck on his stick, more often than not he deferred to his defensive partners to move the puck last night at the Garden.
Here's hoping we get to see some more of the fireworks that were on display last night at the Garden and a more efficient penalty killing effort. All three of the Devil's goals came on the man advantage. I'm ready for round two, how about you guys?
Let's go Rangers.