When the New York Rangers resume their season in July, they and the other NHL teams will have the benefit of an extended roster when they face the Carolina Hurricanes in the play-in round. What we expect is that the play-in/playoff roster will likely include 28 skaters and unlimited goaltenders. The goaltending situation is already set with the three mainstays. The extra skaters will be the group that will have most curious as to how the Rangers fill this roster expansion
The projections assume that all players are healthy and that Kaapo Kakko will play, but may be held out due to the potential Covid-19 risk involved for a player with immunity issues due to Type 1 diabetes and Celiac disease.
At this point and hopefully subject to change, college players or free agents signed after the pause or signed to contracts that begin next season are not eligible.
Phillip Di Giuseppe
The 26-year-old Di Giuseppe was solid when he was recalled and filled in when injuries hit the team in February and March. His presence will even be more important as the likely fill-in for Brendan Lemieux, who should still be sitting out a suspension he received just before the pause of the season. Di Giuseppe played three seasons at the University of Michigan before signing with Carolina in 2014. He appeared in 147 games for the Hurricanes over four seasons and three games for Nashville in 2018-19 before signing with the Rangers as a free agent last summer. He has no playoff experience.
This could be a good chance for reconciliation with the Rangers. Briefly, here is what happened: he failed to make the Rangers’ NHL roster out of training camp, pouted about being sent to AHL Hartford, decided to go back to Russia to play in the KHL, struggled there for about a month-and-a-half, and ultimately returned to the AHL. This pause may give a chance to sort things out and possibly show what he can do. Skating with the team during camp could at the very least, allow the 20-year-old to develop his potential.
You have to like someone who was selected captain of his team in Harford. Fogarty has a nice size and can play both the center and the wing. His maturity at age 27 with some NHL experience would make him valuable for roster depth. Fogarty was recalled and played 8 and half minutes in the Rangers final game before the pause, that 3-2 OT loss to Colorado.
He will likely be the first defenseman in reserve for the team. Hajek had been considered a partner for Jacob Trouba after the Brady Skjei trade but was kept down in Hartford. Now he has the chance to join the camp in July and to see if he can step into that spot or will be a valuable seventh defenseman.
This could be another player on the Rangers reconciliation tour 2020. Johan Rylander of the Swedish newspaper Gotebergs-Posten spoke with Andersson and stated that the New York Rangers had contacted Andersson about returning for the playoffs, but that he was unsure about coming back. As one of the top prospects, it might be a good chance to start fresh and move forward, allowing the Rangers to benefit from his talent.
Per @rylanderjohan #NYR are talking to Lias Andersson to be able to use him in the upcoming playoffs. "Both GM Davidson and Coach Quinn has called Sweden in order to get Andersson interested in playing for @NYRangers in the playoffs"
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— Patrik Bexell (@Zeb_Habs) June 3, 2020
The 22-year-old has the size to be a bottom-six type of player to work the boards on a checking line. This is the kind of depth you like to have in this kind of situation.
Yegor Rykov/Darren Raddysh
Would like to have some more defenseman in case something happens during the series.
If the NHL changes its mind on allowing college players and free agents to play……
Morgan Barron, Kâ€™Andre Miller, Patrick Khoderenko, and Justin Richards will all get consideration to be included on the roster. Nils Lundkvist? A wild-card for sure.
The same goes for Tyler Wall, a nice way to transition him into the Rangers family, especially since it looks like the Rangers could keep an unlimited amount of goalies.
If the NHL does not change its mind, look for Vinni Lettieri, Boo Nieves, and the big banger Matt Belesky to be stronger considered for roster spots.