Chris Drury

Rangers Trim Roster

Seemingly the only move remaining for the Rangers before Wednesday’s 3pm deadline to file final rosters, will be to give Ruslan Fedotenko a contract. That’s because today they re-assigned rookie defensemen Pavel Valentenko and Ryan McDonagh to Hartford, trimming their roster to 25 players.

They have to get down to 23, but with Chris Drury and Vinny Prospal likely heading to IR, that means the Rangers will be able to get their without any further reassignments.

It also begs the question as to whether they really would have been willing to send Todd White down to Hartford if the Prospal hadn’t been hurt, or whether Derek Stepan would have joined his former Wisconsin team mate in being reassigned despite a strong camp and preseason.

Chances are we will find the answer to that question out in a couple of weeks, when the two veterans finally heal.

With no disrespect to Michael Sauer, who played well in has last couple of games after a nervous outing in Detroit, but McDonagh clearly looked more poised. But unlike McDonagh, Sauer would have to go through waivers, and there’s a good chance he would’ve been claimed and left the team with one less NHL ready blueliner in the system.

So the conservative position is of course to keep McDonagh – and veteran Steve Eminger as a seventh d-man – on the roster, in order to cover any injuries early in the season. There’s also McDonagh’s $1.3M salary vs. Sauer’s approximate $500k to factor into the equation.

There’s some merit to that approach of course, last year the Rangers started the year with two rookies, but didn’t really have anyone on standby, or ready to call up that would put pressure on them. Sorry Ilkka Heikkinen fans.

With McDonagh and Valentenko going to Hartford, and Eminger on the bench – at least that’s my expectation at this point – the Rangers have a lot more options should someone falter.

Doesn’t of course allay my disappointment that the 21 year old blueliner from the Wisconsin Badgers program, won’t be in the opening night line-up.

Mats Zuccarello Aasen and Dale Weise were also returned to the Wolf Pack, following their one game call-up last night.

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