The Rangers have announced that the following players will play against New Jersey in tomorrow’s preseason opener:
- Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Kaapo Kakko
- Chris Kreider, Lias Andersson, Vitali Kravtsov
- Greg McKegg, Danny O’Regan, Nick Jones
- Micheal Haley, Boo Nieves, Jake Elmer
- Brady Skjei, Jacob Trouba
- Libor Hajek, Adam Fox
- Brandon Crawley, Brendan Smith
- Alex Georgiev, Igor Shesterkin
Adam Rotter: This is quite the star studded lineup to open the preseason. While the major focus up front is, understandably, Kaapo Kakko being on the right side with Panarin and Zibanejad, the player I’m most eager to see will be Lias Andersson. He’s between Kreider and Kravtsov and will have an opportunity to show that not only he deserves to be in the NHL but in the NHL in the middle and, probably, in the top-nine. He had a quick start in training camp last year with a few goals but ended up falling behind Brett Howden on the depth chart and starting the year in Hartford. Regarding Kakko in that spot, I think it’s probably still Pavel Buchnevich’s to start the year and that the practice groups are being flipped a bit to allow the coaches a different look at certain players.
On defense, I’m eager to see Fox but also Libor Hajek build upon his five game stretch from last season. Georgiev and Shesterkin will probably split the game as the Rangers inch closer to the start of the 2019-20 regular season.