Well, it happened. Despite putting together an exceptional 2018 preseason performance, Lias Andersson is heading to Hartford to start his year with the Wolf Pack. Today, the New York Rangers announced that Andersson and six other waiver-exempt players were assigned to the AHL. Top prospect Filip Chytil remains with the big club, so too does youngster Brett Howden who scored a goal in the Rangers’ preseason victory over the Philadelphia Flyers last night.
HOWDY HOWDY HOWDY HEY HEY HEY pic.twitter.com/OwJbAYXyFD— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) September 28, 2018
The other prospects who got the axe today were Steven Fogarty, Libor Hajek, Ryan Lindgren, Ville Meskanen, Michael Lindqvist, and Rob O’Gara. The Rangers also put Chris Bigras, Peter Holland, Marek Mazanec, Cole Schneider, and Dustin Tokarski on waivers. If they aren’t claimed, they’ll be joining the Wolf Pack for the 2018-19 AHL season.
OFFICIAL: #NYR made the following roster changes:— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) September 28, 2018
Andersson, Fogarty, Hajek, Lindgren, Lindqvist, Meskanen & O’Gara have been assigned to Hartford.
Bigras, Holland, Mazanec, Schneider & Tokarski have been placed on waivers & will be assigned to HFD should they not be claimed. pic.twitter.com/oDPNFCwhWQ
Today’s cuts tell us a lot of things. Firstly, it’s clear that Alexandar Georgiev won the backup goaltending job over Tokarski and Mazanec. But the decision that everyone will be talking about is Andersson’s demotion to the AHL. It looks like Jeff Gorton and David Quinn both believe that Andersson playing a featured role in the AHL is more valuable and important to his development than him starting the season on the fourth line with the Rangers.
So, who is still here?
Forwards Brett Howden, Vinni Lettieri, and Cody McLeod are all still with the big club. The Rangers are also holding on to the eight defensemen we all expected them to, including both Neal Pionk and Tony DeAngelo. Veteran defensemen Adam McQuaid and Fredrik Claesson are also still with the club, but that isn’t much of a surprise. Claesson was the Rangers only noteworthy free agent signing and McQuaid was acquired in a trade with the Boston Bruins just before training camp began.
#NYR Active Roster:— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) September 28, 2018
Forwards (13): Buchnevich, Chytil, Fast, Hayes, Howden, Kreider, Lettieri, McLeod, Namestnikov, Spooner, Vesey, Zibanejad, Zuccarello
Defensemen (8): Claesson, DeAngelo, McQuaid, Pionk, Shattenkirk, Skjei, Smith, Staal
Goaltenders (2): Georgiev, Lundqvist pic.twitter.com/s69CYUZxi5
It’s important to mention that Boo Nieves, Brandon Crawley, and Matt Beleskey are injured and therefore have not been demoted. Of those three players, only Beleskey would have to go through waivers if/when he’s assigned to the Wolf Pack. It’s hard to say if the former Boston Bruin will have a spot in the Rangers’ bottom six when he gets back from his separated shoulder, but until then Lettieri and Howden are going to be with the team.
So, what does your projected lineup for opening night against the Nashville Predators on Oct. 4 look like? Did the Rangers make the right cuts? Let us know in the comments.