Stock Going Up
Neal Pionk and Anthony DeAngelo -- Much like Adam Clendening last year, both Pionk and DeAngelo aren’t just playing very well while fighting for roster spots, they’re doing it while veterans are struggling. DeAngelo has had some adventures in his own end, but continues to be a joy to watch offensively, and has proven that he might be able to make a case to be manning the second unit’s point on the man advantage. Honestly, seeing Ryan McDonagh not used as much at all strengths would be a real positive, and with the Rangers surplus of ability on defense (didn’t think I’d be writing that anytime soon) it makes sense to pull him from the power play and move him to the penalty kill. DeAngelo’s abilities might make that possible.
As for Pionk, he continues to show a very impressive all-around game. I am surprised to see him making this much of an impact — obligatory “it’s against preseason teams” note — but I’ve been quite impressed.
At this point, there’s really no reason either of them shouldn’t be locks to be on the team once the preseason is over. I have a funny feeling the Rangers are going to keep eight defenseman until they can figure out what to do, but the opening night roster should have both of these young men on it.
Filip Chytil — Recorded an assist on the Rangers’ only goal on Friday, continued to look a step ahead of everyone else, and kept the good times rolling. At this stage in the game Chytil has pretty much ensured himself a nine-game NHL look. Anything else would be insane.
Lias Andersson — I still think Andersson takes too many risks, and needs to know when to make the safe play, but there are times when things connect and it’s just perfect. His little flip pass to Crawley for his goal in New Jersey was a thing of beauty. He’s got those moments inside of him, but the overall offensive polish needs to be worked on a bit. Not that you want to stifle creativity, but he needs to know when he can and can’t go for the spectacular.
Brandon Crawley — Scored a goal in front of his family (his father is a huge Rangers fan) and played a solid game in New Jersey. Crowley isn’t making the team out of camp, but as Adam said “his stock is rising.”
David Desharnais — I wasn’t sure how much I was going to like Desharnais, but he’s willing to go to the tough areas of the ice with consistency and he’s shown some nice flashes off offense. I have a funny feeling he’s going to fit in well with this offense.
Stock Going Down
Marc Staal and Nick Holden -- I’ll keep this short and simple. Neither improved much over their first game -- where they were some of the worst defenseman respectfully as it was. Neither have shown any reason why they should be on the opening night roster.
Andrew Desjardins — Thrown out of the game Saturday because of a hit to the head, and continued struggles in his own zone. I appreciate Brad Richards making the suggestion, but this is not working and should not be dragged out any more than it already has been. He’s not an NHL-caliber player anymore.