The Rangers saw themselves with a clear path to the Stanley Cup Finals. They were up 2-0 against the then back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions before Tampa Bay would break the young Rangers hearts and win four straight games. On Tuesday night, the Rangers get a chance to start the season off with a little bit of redemption against the Lightning (7:30 P.M. ET, TNT).

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N/ANHL Standing RankN/A


               The Rangers offseason went about as many predicted it would. The Blueshirts were unable to retain Andrew Copp, Frank Vatrano, and Justin Braun – all of whom were acquired for a playoff run. Patrik Nemeth was traded to Arizona for cap relief with a 2025 second-round pick, and a 2026 conditional second-round pick in exchange for Ty Emberson. In addition, the Blueshirts traded backup goaltender Alex Georgiev to the Colorado Avalanche for three draft picks including two in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. Lastly, the Rangers were unable to retain the services of Ryan Strome who join the Anaheim Ducks as a free agent.

               One big prospect left the club as Nils Lundkvist was traded to the Dallas Stars for a conditional 2023 first-round pick and a conditional fourth-round selection in 2025. Lundkvist had ask for a trade to join a team where he would get a better opportunity to make the team in an important role.

               The big addition to the team was signing free agent Vincent Trocheck to a seven-year contract worth $39,375,000 (5.625 million per year). The 29-year-old had been with the Carolina Hurricanes since being traded there by Florida in February of 2020. Trocheck will replace Strome as the second line center and on the top power play unit. Trocheck recorded 51 points last season and he will improve the Rangers ability in the faceoff dot with a career average win rate of 52.1%.

               The Blueshirts made two depth signings in Ryan Carpenter and Jimmy Vesey. Carpenter played for head coach Gerard Gallant during the first two seasons of the Vegas Golden Knights existence. Vesey signed with the Rangers out of college before being traded to Buffalo. Vesey never lived up to his potential and had bounced around the league. The Rangers gave Vesey a try out and he earned himself a one-year contract out of camp and rejoining the team he started his career with.

               Zac Jones is expected to start the season on the third pair of the defensive core with second-year pro Braden Schneider. Libor Hajek will likely serve as the seventh defenseman.

               The Rangers signed veteran goaltender Jaroslav Halak to backup Igor Shesterkin. Halak is very familiar to Rangers as he once served as the New York Islanders starting netminder for four seasons. The 37-year-old spent time in Boston for three seasons and the previous season at Vancouver before joining the Rangers on a one-year contract.

Right Wing by Committee

               In the NFL, teams without a superstar running back often use a “running back by committee” which means certain running backs will be in the game depending on the situation. The Blueshirts don’t have clear depth chart for their right wingers and we will likely see many different combinations throughout the season. Expect to see guys like Kaapo Kakko, Vitaly Kravtsov, Alexis Lafreniere, Barclay Goodrow, Jimmy Vesey, Dryden Hunt, Filip Chytil and Sammy Blais all to get opportunities on the right side of the top-six.

Sammy Blais

               Blais is doubtful for the Rangers tonight after suffering a minor upper-body injury in preseason. Head coach Gerard Gallant called him day-to-day following the game tonight. Blais hasn’t played in a regular season or postseason game since being slew-footed by the now retired P.K. Subban of the New Jersey Devils on November 14th of last season. If the Blueshirts believe Blais could be out for a week, don’t be surprised to see them put the Quebec native on the IR to help save some cap dollars.

Jacob Trouba

               Jacob Trouba was announced as the 28th captain in Rangers history on August 9th. Trouba is the first Rangers captain since Ryan McDonagh was traded to Tampa Bay. The 28-year-old currently has four years left on his contract. Trouba was considered one of the favorites to be named captain along with the longest tenured Ranger Chris Kreider.

Tampa Bay

               The Lightning are coming off a Stanley Cup losing effort after falling to the Colorado Avalanche in six-games. Tampa Bay will return with mostly the same roster as they did the previous season. The biggest move they made was trading away former Rangers captain McDonagh to Nashville in a cap clearing move. Philipe Myers came back in the deal and will serve as a bottom pairing defenseman with offseason signing Haydn Fleury. The former seventh overall pick is onto his fourth NHL team and will be hoping to make his role stick with Tampa. The newly formed bottom pair may be a matchup Gallant might try to exploit.

               Former Ranger Vladislav Namestnikov will be in the lineup for the Lightning for his second stint with the team. Namestnikov was originally acquired from Tampa Bay in the same trade that sent McDonagh to Florida. The Russian winger never really had a concrete role in New York and was ultimately traded to Ottawa. Namestnikov’s best ever offensive season came at the time he was traded by the Lightning to New York. The now 29-year-old had recorded 20 goals and 24 assists but would only record four points in the remaining 18 games after he was traded.

               But perhaps most importantly for the Lightning will be the healthy return of Brayden Point. Point was injured for most of the Lightning’s playoff run and didn’t touch the ice against the Rangers. Point is a dynamic player who gives the Lightning the option to have multiple threatening lines.

               Tampa Bay did some housekeeping in the offseason and gave eight-year contract extensions to Anthony Cirelli, Erik Cernak, and Mikhail Sergachev. In addition, they were able to resign their trade deadline acquisition Nick Paul to a seven-year extension.

               Ian Cole is currently out indefinitely due to an ongoing investigation after he allegedly groomed and sexually abused a female. Cole has denied all allegations against him. Cole will be out of the lineup for the foreseeable future.

Goaltender matchup

               The two best goaltenders in the world will once again do battle as Shesterkin will take on Andrei Vasilevskiy. Shesterkin won the Vezina Trophy and was a finalist for the Hart Trophy and Vasilevskiy won back-to-back Stanley Cups and has been in the finals for the past three seasons. In the first two games of the Easter Conference Final, the Blueshirts found a lot of success against Vasilevskiy going blocker side. Colorado also found some success going blocker side in the Stanley Cup Finals. It will be interesting to see if the Blueshirts continue to look to shoot away from Vasilevskiy’s glove.

Projected Starting Lineup










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