The past 48 hours have been a little crazy on Broadway.
With the Rangers making final moves to get cap compliant by 5 p.m. Tuesday, a report surfaced the organization was looking to part ways with young defenseman Dylan McIlrath. This made sense, since the day before Alain Vigneault mentioned he only wanted to keep seven defenseman around, and the Rangers currently have eight.
A minor injury to Kevin Klein might have stabilized things on the defensive side, with the Rangers announcing he’s day-to-day:
AV says Kevin Klein is dealing with back spasms that have kept him out of practice the last two days. Unsure of status for Thursday. #NYR— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) October 11, 2016
That would make room for McIlrath — who told the Daily News he would not be in the opening night roster — to stick around for a few more days as the Rangers sorted things out.
Klein’s situation didn’t change the Rangers needing to make a roster move to get compliant, which they did by putting Lindberg on IR. We originally speculated he might be back sooner than later when he was cleared for contact, but Vigneault speculated he was 2-4 weeks away so this is the most logical move given the situation.
When he returns the Rangers will have a decision to make. Josh Jooris remains on the roster, and he’s someone who you’d think would be a spare part when Lindberg returns. The added risk is Jooris is also reported to have an offer from Switzerland waiting in the event he doesn’t make the team — akin to Nathan Gerbe who refused to report to Hartford and will have his contract terminated.
I’m not sure how much that will matter to the Rangers. Despite Gerbe and Jooris being part of the team’s valued forward depth, Brandon Pirri forcing himself onto the roster changes that outlook a little as does Boo Nieves (who might be with the big club sooner rather than later).
The Rangers don’t need to do anything drastic but they do appear to have one too many players on both the defensive side and the forward side. I’ve never understood carrying eight-defenseman long term -- especially when two of the guys sitting can and should play — and keeping an extra spare forward doesn’t make sense when a guy like Nieves can jump up and down without issue.
My guess is when Lindberg returns Jooris will go down -- and most likely not report. By then you’d assume the Rangers would have figured out their defense. My guess? McIlrath gets traded in a smaller move. The wildcard is if there’s a bigger move (Jacob Trouba or Kevin Shattenkirk maybe) lurking that pulls him or Brady Skjei.
Either way, all this Lindberg move did was buy time. Something is coming.
We just don’t know what.