The Rangers open camp tomorrow for the first time under coach Alain Vigneault. The roster stands in a bit of disarray, with Derek Stepan still unsigned and wingers Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin projected to miss the start of the season while recovering from should surgery.
On defense, Marc Staal is attempting another comeback from a significant injury, and while he says he’s ready to compete, it remains to be seen whether he can still be effective on the blueline. Michael Del Zotto will get a final chance to impress under a different coaching philosophy, as will Brad Richards, but both players likely have their future with the Rangers on the line this year.
Positionally the Rangers are weak on the wings – thanks largely to the absence of Callahan and Hagelin – and overstocked in the center position. They’ve added some defensive depth, but would rather it be just an insurance policy for the top six.
Of the rookies, Oscar Lindberg and Danny Kristo look the best placed to push for a spot, with perhaps Jesper Fast an outside shot too. Many of the other depth players will also be looking to impress, to each the possibility of an early call-up in case of an injury.