The Rangers will be looking for a bounce-back performance and looking to help will be 20-year-old Braden Schneider who will make his NHL debut (10:30 P.M. EST, MSG).

RangersNHL RankingsSharks
3rdNHL Standing Rank16th

Previous Game

               The Rangers were defeated 3-1 by the Los Angeles Kings. It wasn’t a good performance and ultimately the Blueshirts got what they deserved. While both goals the Rangers conceded were from defensive mistakes, at the end of the day the same glaring problem once again became an issue. The Rangers’ offense is not deep and it needs help. The Kings would add on an empty-net goal late in the third period.


               Picked 19th overall in the 2020 NHL draft, Braden Schneider is set to make his NHL debut on the third defensive pairing with Patrik Nemeth. Schneider will become the tenth different Rangers’ defenseman to dress for a game this season. Schneider has arguably been the Blueshirts‘ most effective defenseman in Hartford this season. From Prince Albert, Canada, Schneider plays a hard-nosed two-way game and he isn’t afraid to go to the dirty areas. The Blueshirts traded the 72nd overall pick to move up three spots to select Schneider.

               Igor Shesterkin has cleared the COVID protocol and is once again available for selection. Acting head coach Kris Knoblauch and head coach Gerard Gallant will have a conversation prior to the game on whether to start Shesterkin or Alex Georgiev who has provided solid goaltending in his absence. The Rangers could opt to let Shesterkin get some practice in before throwing him back in the cage.

               One thing of note, Alexis Lafreniere isn’t listed on the Rangers’ active roster on their website. This could indicate that the former number one overall pick could be headed to the COVID protocol.

Ranger Trade Targets

               As mentioned earlier, the Blueshirts offense needs to approve – especially at even strength. There are a few names out there that the Rangers could target as they look to find some more goals. One of which is Reilly Smith from Las Vegas. Smith played under Gallant and he is familiar with his system. The 30-year-old is in the final year of his contract and the Rangers will have no problem fitting him under the cap this season.

               Another player to keep an eye on from the Golden Knights is Jonathan Marchessault. Marchessault has been rumored to be available and is another player who flourished under Gallant. The 31-year-old’s best two seasons came under Gallant. However, Marchessault coming to New York is less likely than Smith as he is under contract for another two seasons at five million a season. One thing is for certain – with Jack Eichel nearing his return, Vegas will have to clear some salary cap to make room for the franchise centerman.

               Another name the Rangers could target is Evander Kane. Kane’s contract was recently terminated by San Jose after multiple off-ice issues. No one question’s the talent Kane has on the ice, but his off-ice issues could be a deal-breaker. Kane could be had for cheap on a prove-it type of contract. However, the 30-year-old is currently under investigation about crossing the Canadian border while he was supposed to be in quarantine after landing in the COVID protocol. He allegedly went into Vancouver without the okay from team doctors. Rumor is that Edmonton is heavily interested in Kane. It remains a long shot for the Blueshirts especially given the fact the Kane and Rangers forward Ryan Reaves don’t see eye-to-eye.

               The Sharks also have Tomas Hertl who is in the final year of his contract. Hertl could be an expensive rental but could also be a long-term solution as the second-line center. The 28-year-old currently has 31 points on the season as the Sharks currently occupy the last wild card spot in the west. If they start to fade out of contention, expect the trade rumors to heat up on Hertl.

               Other players to keep an eye on as the season unwinds include Joe Pavelski, Tyler Toffoli, Marcus Johansson, and even defenseman Jakob Chychrun. Though trading for Chychrun shouldn’t be the priority as the Rangers have bigger fish to fry.

Key to the game

               The key to the game is the Rangers offense. They’ve struggled on this road trip and have just four goals in three games if you take away an empty-net goal. The two teams played a 1-0 Rangers winner in the first meeting this season and now will play for the last time in San Jose. Let’s see if the Blueshirts offense can get something going on Thursday night. The top line in Hartford when healthy will all likely serve as the Rangers’ fourth line.

Projected Lineup









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