PLAYERS ASSIGNED TO HARTFORD (AHL) ON 9/27/10:Wade Redden, hahahaha. If Wade ends up in Hartford I will actually be quite disappointed. As mentioned in this space multiple times, I really think he should head overseas. Why let his stink of failure infect the kids on the farm? They will start to believe that they too can play mediocre hockey and make big money, and we simply can't have that.
Goal (1): Chad Johnson
Defense (1): Wade Redden
Forward (6): Dane Byers*, Evgeny Grachev, Kris Newbury*, Dale Weise, Jeremy Williams*, Mats Zuccarello
* Player must clear waivers prior to being assigned to Hartford
As for the rest of the guys, we are certain to see at least some of them down the road. It is disappointing Zuccarello was sent down but it is probably best - he can continue to adjust to North American hockey outside of the critical eye of New York. From all indications, he will make the show sooner rather than later. Grachev on the other hand ... well, I don't have the faith that others do but - as has been pointed out to me - he is just 20 years old so there is plenty of time. Weise wasted a chance to make the show but he also a youngster so patience and hard work may pay off down the road. Johnson definitely needs to get his head straight and stop giving up soft goals. Byers, Newbury and Williams will be the leadership core of the Pack/Whale this year. Both Byers (Hartford's captain) and Newbury showed that they can skate with the big boys if the injury bug takes its toll on the Rangers.
PLAYERS RELEASED FROM TRYOUT AGREEMENT ON 9/27/10:As I tweeted, I wonder where Semenov's wife will let him play now. His size is intoxicating but he simply isn't that good. Hands of cement, skates of cement ... Exelby seemed to have a head of cement and blew perhaps his last chance at a NHL job. Manning, well, who?
Defense (3): Garnet Exelby, Brandon Manning, Alexei Semenov
PLAYERS STILL IN NEW YORK RANGERS TRAINING CAMP:Probably the biggest surprise here, for me at least, is that the Rangers kept Sauer in camp - and it is a pleasant surprise as I've been rooting for this kid to come through for a while. Still, it will be tough for him to make the next batch of cuts with the group of blueliners around him. The Rangers may or may not carry seven defensemen but if they do, there are three spots for Eminger, Hobey, McD, Sauer and Valentenko. Of those five McD is almost a certainty and Hobey has looked great. Valentenko's toughness has been impressive but the bosses surely want Eminger's experience around ... Wednesday night will be interesting.
Goal (2): Martin Biron, Henrik Lundqvist
Defense (9): Michael Del Zotto, Steve Eminger, Matt Gilroy, Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh, Michal Rozsival, Michael Sauer, Marc Staal, Pavel Valentenko
Forward (16): Artem Anisimov, Sean Avery, Derek Boogaard, Brian Boyle, Ryan Callahan, Erik Christensen, Chris Drury, Brandon Dubinsky, Ruslan Fedotenko, Alex Frolov, Marian Gaborik, Tim Kennedy, Vinny Prospal, Brandon Prust, Derek Stepan, Todd White
Up front there are 16 players for 12 spots, maybe 13 or 14 depending on what Torts wants to carry. Vinny Prospal has lucked out with his injury - what timing - so he hasn't had to fight for his job. Rather than Fedotenko threatening Vaclav for his spot, it looks like he is battling Avery and maybe even Kennedy. Kennedy was far better on the wing than down the middle, and Boyle was better in the middle than on the wing. Having Kennedy, Boogey and Prust allows the Rangers to play matchups with their fourth line. I would say Stepan is certain to make opening night with Drury out. So at least one player will be cut and my guess is either White or Christy. Wednesday will be quite interesting ...