The New York Rangers have finalized their opening night roster following the conclusion of the 2023 preseason. Entering the preseason, most of the Rangers’ lineup was already locked in with minimal room for change. However, a few prospects aimed to steal one last spot on the team and join the veterans on opening night.
Ultimately, Will Cuylle ended up being the prospect to steal that spot. But where will the 21-year-old Canadian left-winger fit in on the opening night lineup?
Will Cuylle steals opening night spot after impressive preseason
While much of the buzz this preseason surrounded prospects such as Brennan Othmann, it was Will Cuylle who ended up breaking out and stealing the coveted opening night spot.
Playing in five of the Blueshirts’ six preseason games, Cuylle turned in an impressive preseason campaign, totaling three points (two goals, one assist).
Cuylle saw time on both the power play and the penalty kill during the preseason.
After netting 25 goals in Hartford last season, Cuylle demonstrated enough development to warrant some NHL playing time this season.
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Where will Cuylle fit in on the Rangers’ lineup?
The Rangers have a surplus of talent on the left wing. The first two lines are already loaded with talent, featuring Chris Kreider on the first followed by Artemi Panarin on the second. The third-line left wing was previously manned by Alexis Lafreniere.
With Lafreniere set to ascend into a top-six position this season, the third-line left wing is open for the taking. Cuylle is projected to fill that role on opening night.
According to Mollie Walker of The New York Post, the Rangers want Cuylle playing significant minutes, “so the expectation is that he’ll slot right into the lineup.”
Cuylle will likely play alongside C Filip Chytil and RW Blake Wheeler on the third line on opening night. However, as the Blueshirts aim to develop the kids, Chytil could move up into the top six, bringing veteran Vincent Trocheck down to center the third line next to Cuylle.
In that case, Cuylle would be bringing some young fire to a line featuring two experienced veterans.
Expectations will be high for Cuylle entering this season as he beat out the fan-favorite Othmann for a roster spot. While Othmann continues his development in the AHL, Cuylle will have a chance to make an impact in the NHL for the Blueshirts.