The traditional Blue-White scrimmage marked the end of the first phase of Rangers Training Camp, and Tom Renney made his first dozen cuts, bringing the camp roster down to 39. The team now travels to West Point for some team building exercises ahead of Friday night’s pre-season opener.
The next set of cuts are expected to be made on Friday, perhaps even prior to the game against the New Jersey Devils.
In terms of surprises, perhaps the biggest one was that Alex Bourret will be heading down so soon. No doubt the decision was largely a result of a shoulder injury that kept him out of today’s scrimmage. The extent of the injury is not yet known.
Of the remaining, Mitch Fritz will no doubt continue to be disappointed about not getting the opportunity to compete at the NHL level, a sentiment he expressed to Tampa Bay over the summer prior to being traded to the Rangers in exchange for Bryce Lampman.
Greg Moore also perhaps will be disappointed with his camp after being amongst the final cuts last time around. Moore had a disappointing first year as a pro, and his early cut from camp is not encouraging. In goal Chris Holt‘s progress continues to be slow, losing out to Miika Wiikman who doesn’t even have an NHL contract.
The Rangers also look set to give try-out Mark Smith a longer look. Smith last played for the San Jose Sharks and is a 4th line center that could perhaps some depth and veteran leadership to Hartford if the Rangers decide to go that route.
The Rangers have in the past recalled players from Hartford during the preseason, but being amongst the first cuts generally means the Rangers want to see improvements from these players.
Last season Ryan Callahan was excluded from the Blue-White scrimmage and was amongst the first cuts before ultimately winning a spot on the Rangers at the end of the season.
Another one of those cuts from last year has impressed enough to continue past that milestone this year. Hugh Jessiman has had a disappointing first two years in the pros, but has started to change his game to more of a north-south approach and it’s catching the eyes of the coaching staff. Tom Renney tells Sam Weinman of the Journal News, that Jessiman will see some preseason action this year.