The training camp roster continues to shrink. The New York Rangers just announced that defenseman Zac Jones has been assigned to Hartford to play with the Wolf Pack in the AHL. This leaves the Rangers with 25 players left in training camp.
The real story here is that today’s move leaves the Rangers with eight defenders on the roster: Adam Fox, Ryan Lindgren, Jacob Trouba, K’Andre Miller, Patrik Nemeth, Nils Lundkvist, Jarred Tinordi, and Libor Hajek. Recently, Hajek took shifts as a forward in practice and there have been signs that the Rangers are ready to cut ties with him. With that being said, he could be the de facto seventh defenseman heading into the season.
We’ll just have to wait and see what happens with Hajek as the preseason draws to a close and the regular season approaches. It’s hard to imagine he gets into the lineup unless we see an outbreak of injuries on the back end. Even then, it’s possible that he may have already played his last game as a Ranger.
Jones, 20, played 10 games with the Rangers last season and 10 games with Team USA at the 2021 Worlds after completing his sophomore season at UMass. At UMass, he piled up nine goals and 15 assists in 29 games, making him one of the most productive d-men in the nation. Given how many options the Rangers have on the blue line — namely Nemeth and Lundkvist — the odds were against Jones making the opening night roster. He’s a left-handed puck-moving defenseman who should be a valuable player to the Wolf Pack this season.
The Rangers drafted Jones in the 3rd round (68th overall) of the 2019 Draft.