Three New York Rangers named to the Team USA Roster

Chris Drury is not only busy being the new GM for the New York Rangers, but he is also the GM for Team USA in the upcoming 2021 IIHF Men’s World Championship starting on May 22.

Today, USA Hockey announced today the 26 players that will comprise the team that will play in Riga, Latvia. The roster includes three goaltenders, nine defensemen, and 14 forwards. This will allow extra players in order to accommodate the coronavirus pandemic protocols.

Colin Blackwell, Zac Jones, and Kevin Rooney of the Rangers are part of that 26 player group.

“We’re excited with the roster we have and look forward to the world championship,” said Drury. “It’s a unique year and we appreciate the dedication and commitment of everyone. We really like our team and our goal, like every other team our country puts on the ice, is to bring home a gold medal.”

Also named to the team was Chris Drury’s nephew, Jack, who is the son of former NHL player Ted Drury.

Team USA will depart the U.S. for Riga on May 16 and will begin to play in the world championship on May 22 against Finland at 9:15 a.m. ET. All U.S. games in the tournament will air live on NHL Network.

Former New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano will serve as head coach for Team USA.

Depleted New York Rangers fall to the Boston Bruins

Jeremy Swayman needed to stop only 15 shots for his second career shutout and the Boston Bruins beat a listless New York Rangers 4-0.

The Rangers, in the midst of a tumultuous week that included the firing of the club’s president and general manager, played without a lot of energy from the start and lost their fifth straight. New York had just four shots on goal in the first period and three in the second.

The Blueshirts were without star center Artemi Panarin, who was injured during the Tom Wilson incident that ended his season. They were also without injured defensemen Jacob Trouba and Ryan Lindgren and forwards Chris Kreider and Brett Howden.

In addition, Pavel Buchnevich was been suspended for one game, without pay, for high-sticking Washington Capitals forward Anthony Mantha during Wednesday night’s game. Buchnevich will forfeit $28,017 for the suspension.

Igor Shesterkin had a much busier night than his Boston counterpart, stopping 30 shots and preventing the Ranger from losing by even a greater margin.

The New York Rangers lacked energy after a difficult week

Zac Jones talked about the difficulty of playing this game after all that the Rangers have gone through this week. “It’s definitely tough with everything that has been going on,” Jones stated. “We try to put that in the back of our minds and not think about it. We just go out there and try to do our best and win every game.”

Head coach David Quinn also addressed the difficulties of playing this game in his post-game Zoom conference. “Obviously we understand the situation that we are in,” Quinn said. “Every team has gone through rough stretches of injuries during COVID. It was a challenging night, to say the least. We didn’t lay down. I know the shots were what they were. It was ugly at times but these guys competed their butts off.”

The Rangers will play their final game of the season against the Bruins on Saturday afternoon.



The New York Rangers Sign Draft Pick as Trouba is out for Thursday

The New York Rangers announced Wednesday that the team has agreed to terms with forward Karl Henriksson on an entry-level contract. Henriksson was selected by the Rangers in the second round, 58th overall, of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.

Henriksson, 20, skated in 44 games with Frolunda in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) this season, registering one goal and six assists for seven points, along with 18 penalty minutes. He was one of only 13 junior (U20) players in the SHL (and one of only eight junior forwards) who registered at least six assists and at least seven points this season. Henriksson’s 12:34 average ice time per game in 2020-21 was the fifth-most among junior forwards in the SHL during the season. He also skated in four playoff games with Frolunda this season.

Internationally, the Malmo, Sweden native has represented his country in several tournaments. Henriksson helped Sweden win a bronze medal at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship, a gold medal at the 2019 IIHF U18 World Championship, and a silver medal at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup.

Zac Jones is a possibility to replace Trouba in the New York Rangers lineup

After practice on Wednesday, head coach David Quinn confirmed that Jacob Trouba will not be in the lineup on Thursday. Trouba was injured when he was hit by Islanders forward Matt Martin at 9:09 of the first period Tuesday in the Rangers’ loss to the Isles. He left the game and did not return.

Quinn did confirm that newly signed Zac Jones remains a possibility to see his first action as a member of the Rangers. The Rangers agreed to terms with the 20-year-old defenseman, a third-round pick (No. 68) in the 2019 NHL Draft, on an entry-level contract on April 13.

After practice, Jones was asked in his Zoom conference if he was ready to play in the NHL. “100 percent,” Jones stated. “I’ll be out there trying to help the team any way I can and anyway they need me to. So if I get that chance, I’m going to make the most of it.”

If Quinn decides to not insert Jones, Libor Hajek also is an option to play. The defenseman has been scratched the past two games after playing in 20 straight from March 11-April 17.

The Rangers face the Philadelphia Flyers in back-to-back games starting Thursday night at MSG.



The New York Rangers are Silent at the Trade Deadline…Which is just fine

With the NHL trade deadline come and gone, the New York Rangers have decided to stand pat with the cards they have at the table. There was not a lot of trade buzz around the Rangers, as the expectation was that the Blueshirts were very content with their roster unless something was offered that was too good to pass up.

Per the New York Rangers twitter, GM Jeff Gorton said: “We made a number of calls, took a number of calls, went through a number of scenarios, and it’s clear we have a plan in place. Nothing that came along was going to add to what we wanted to do and was something we felt was going to help us, short term or long term.”

One of the Blueshirts that many thought might be traded was defenseman Brendan Smith. He will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and will probably not be on the Ranger’s roster next season.

Smith talked about the possibility in his post-game Zoom conference after Sunday night’s game. I mean, I know, I’m not oblivious to it,” said Smith. “But I want to be here. I want to help this team win. I love being a Ranger. They are a good group of guys, and I want to help them win. I want to help these younger guys get to that next level. I want to be here.”

At least for now, Smith will get his wish and stay in New York as the young Blueshirts make a run at qualifying for the NHL playoffs.

What will go on with the New York Rangers after the trade deadline has passed?

After Monday afternoon, the Rangers can make four recalls from Hartford, plus any emergency recalls they may need. Also, the 23-man roster limit goes away after the deadline. During this COVID-19 year, the taxi squad continues to remain in play.

One of the implications of this is that Morgan Barron could be called up soon. Barron leads the Wolf Pack in scoring with eight goals and seven assists in 15 games.

In addition, Frank Seravalli of TSN has reported that the Rangers are close to signing third-round pick Zac Jones, who is coming off winning an NCAA championship with UMass. Seravalli also reported that he will join the Rangers after going through COVD-19 protocols.

“He’s had a terrific college career so far,”  Quinn said about Jones recently. “He’s someone I’m a little bit familiar with, watching him play before he got to UMass. He certainly has been a very, very good player there, and we think very highly of him as an organization.”

Meanwhile, the Rangers will face the New Jersey Devils, a team that has just traded three key players at the deadline. Today, the Devils traded Dmitry Kulikov to Edmonton for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2022. They also lost Sami Vatanen off waivers to the Dallas Stars. Last Wednesday, the Devils sent Travis Zajac and Kyle Palmieri to the New York Islanders.

The youngest team in the NHL is just about ready to get some lessons on the NHL playoff chase. Recently, those young players have stepped up and played well. In Sunday night’s loss to the Islanders, four of the six Rangers who tallied a point in the second period are 23 years old or younger. Three of those players are 21 years old or younger.

Playoff school is now in session, with the first-class starting on Tuesday night in New Jersey.