During these situations, players will be called up from the team’s AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack.
The question is, who are the top candidates among AHL players in the Wolf Pack who could get called up? Three players stand out as the top options to be called up mid-season.
The Rangers could call up a versatile forward
For the past few seasons, Alex Belzile has flip-flopped from the Laval Rockets and Montreal Canadians. Belzile is well-acquainted with the process, and the Rangers could definitely call him up if they face a slew of injuries.
He is also highly versatile, capable of playing either on the right wing or at center. Belzile would be an ideal candidate for a quick call-up and should adjust seamlessly to the transition between the AHL and NHL, and vice versa.
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Plan B in case Jonathan Quick continues to struggle
With the way Jonathan Quick has looked in the preseason, the Rangers must ensure there’s a Plan B if he continues to struggle. Given the Rangers’ limited cap space, making a trade for a goalie might be challenging. Therefore, they’ll likely consider calling up a player from the AHL. The best option is Louis Domingue, who has NHL experience.
Domingue, currently 31 years old, has been a journeyman goalie in the NHL, playing for several teams, including the Arizona Coyotes, Tampa Bay Lightning, New Jersey Devils, Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, and Pittsburgh Penguins. He still has plenty to offer in his career.
There’s also the option of calling up Dylan Garland, but that could be a significant mistake. While Garland has shown flashes in the minor leagues over the past few years, he likely needs another year of development before he’s ready for the NHL.
Rushing promising prospects to the main roster, as seen with Alexis Lafreniere, can have negative consequences. The Rangers should learn from that and avoid rushing a talented prospect into the NHL. Therefore, if one goalie is likely to be called up, it would be Domingue.
Brennan Othmann could still get his opportunity
It was either going to be Will Cuylle or Brennan Othmann when it came to decision time on the final roster spot. Cuylle obviously won the role due to being the more consistent performer and even winning the Lars-Erik Sjoberg award.
However, Othmann consistently shined in last year’s preseason and stood out this year, too. He continuously made plays on offense, displayed solid defensive skills, and showcased his gritty and physical style of play. Many fans were disappointed when they learned that he didn’t make the roster, and they fully supported him.
There’s a lot to like about Othmann’s performance during the preseason. However, one head-scratching decision by the Rangers was placing him on the fourth line. This was quite perplexing because Othmann was a much better fit for the third or second line of the team.
Despite that, there were numerous positive aspects to Othmann’s preseason performance. It would be astonishing if Othmann doesn’t get the opportunity to play in an NHL game this season.