This afternoon Larry Brooks reported that, per New York Rangers head coach David Quinn, the Blueshirts are entering training camp with Tony DeAngelo on the left side skating on the top pair with Jacob Trouba.
Rangers will open camp with DeAngelo on left side with Trouba, per Quinn— Larry Brooks (@NYP_Brooksie) January 3, 2021
Although this was expected and predicted by analysts over the offseason, it is still a thought-provoking development. DeAngelo, of course, played almost exclusively on the right side last season being a right-handed d-man; the same is true of Trouba. Together, the duo are the Rangers’ two highest-paid blueliners, worth a combined $12.8 million in combined cap space over the next two years, according to CapFriendly.
Moving DeAngelo to the left side helps balance out the Rangers’ d-pairings and makes the training camp battle for a spot on the third pair that much more interesting. It should also mean we’ll see the return of Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren as the team’s second pairing. Veteran Brendan Smith is entering camp listed as a defenseman, so chances are he’ll be either on the third pair or on the taxi squad. Fellow veteran Jack Johnson is also in the mix and it might be appealing — to the coaching staff — to pair him with a youngster, like K’Andre Miller, on the third pair.
Furthermore, we learned that the Rangers will enter camp with a third line consisting of Alexis Lafrenière on a line with center Filip Chytil and right wing Julien Gauthier. That means Kaapo Kakko could be featured on the top line with Artemiy Panarin and Ryan Strome — or, alternatively, on a line with Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad.
Alexis Lafreniere will start on the Rangers third line in practice tomorrow with Filip Chytil and Julien Gauthier. Brett Howden will replace Mika Zibanejad (unavailable) on a line with Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich. That leaves Ryan Strome w/ Artemi Panarin and Kaapo Kakko.— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) January 3, 2021
That’s a lot to chew on and more than enough fodder for everyone to start playing with their projected lineups and what the rest of the roster and especially the taxi squad will look like. Of course, all of this could change before the puck drops on Jan. 14. Tinkering with lines and pairings is what training camp is all about.
So, who’s ready for Rangers hockey?
Salary cap information courtesy of CapFriendly.com.