Brian Boyle

And Then There Were 22

It comes as no real surprise that the Rangers have elected to send Evgeny Grachev down to Hartford. The 19 year old showed moments of promise in his pre-season stint with the team, even scoring a goal in yesterday’s 4-3 loss to the Capitals, but ultimately he also showed he needs a little time to adjust.

The fact that he’s 19, able to be reassigned to Hartford without clearing waivers, had no NHL experience and due $875,000 on a team searching for Cap space also all played into it, so yeah…there’s no real surprise he got sent down. Now it’ll be up to him to dominate in Hartford and force the Rangers to make him the first call-up when the inevitable injury bug hits.

As to the remaining 22 players, well it looks as if the Rangers will sign Alexei Semenov any day now, at least if you put any stock into John Tortorella’s positive comments on the 28 year old Russian. Perhaps before doing so though, Glen Sather will take a look at the waiver wire and see if there might not be someone a little better out there.

If the Rangers do indeed sign Semenov, it’ll put a little more pressure on them to make a decision on Michael Del Zotto. Another rookie who is due a hefty salary (just over $1M), Del Zotto can play in the NHL or be assigned to the London Knights of the OHL. Comments from the Knights coach suggest that the 19 year old defender will be retained for at least the nine game limit before his contract year kicks in.

With Sean Avery continuing to look doubtful for the first couple of games, it also looks likely that Brian Boyle, and probably even Aaron Voros will stick around for the first week or so. Once Avery comes back though, expect one or maybe even both to be sent down.

Not that it’s all that easy to send veterans down, particularly in the case of Voros who has two years remaining on his contract. With the introduction of re-entry waivers in the last CBA, teams are reluctant to recall players once they’ve been reassigned to the minors, because they’d be on the hook for half the salary for the remainder of the contract. In the case of Voros, that would be $500,000 for this season and next.

So expect the talk to continue, and perhaps a minor move to be made, but at this stage we pretty much know what the roster will be.

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