On Saturday the Ranger trimmed their roster to 38, sending 8 players down to the AHL to join the Wolf Pack. Among the eight were two netminders, three forwards and three defensemen. There were no specific surprises other than perhaps that the two 18-year-old Ranger first round draft picks and undrafted free agent forward Vinni Lettieri were all still on the roster after three preseason games.
That’s not to say the trio don’t deserve to have a longer look, but to get this far is certainly an achievement for all three, and suggests that one or maybe even two of them have a real shot at being on the opening night roster.
Of the eight that got sent down, Alexei Bereglazov probably had the biggest expectations coming into camp. The 23 year old Russian defenseman was considered a possible competitor on the blueline, with NHL ready size and skills, but was underwhelming in the Traverse City Prospects Tournament, and then looked a step behind in the game against the Islanders on Friday night, his only preseason action.
The Rangers also sent down were fellow defensemen John Gilmour and Vince Pedrie. Gilmour is entering the final year of his two year contract, and while he showed a few signs defensively, is probably on the outer unless he has a big year in Hartford. Pedrie is entering his first full season as a pro, and has two years to see if he can progress.
Goaltenders Chris Nell and Alexandar Georgiev looked like reasonable recruits in their preseason action, and will now look to battle Brandon Halverson – who will remain with the Rangers likely through Tuesday at least – for the starting spot in Hartford this year.
Former Rangers draft picks Adam Tambellini and Ryan Gropp also got some preseason time, Tambellini with two appearances in his final contract year, and like others will likely be playing for his NHL career this season. Gropp by contrast is just starting his pro career, and will have some work to do to prove he can be an NHLer.
While there’s no official word on when the next cuts will come, it would seem likely that a number of players will be sent down following Monday’s game against the Flyers, with the final cuts perhaps coming Wednesday.