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How an increase in the cap to $83 million would impact the Rangers

At a press conference earlier today, Gary Bettman announced that the salary cap for next season is expected to be around $83 million. (Dreger)

As of now the Rangers have $59.6 million in cap space committed for next season and a salary cap of $83 million would leave the Rangers with around $23 million in cap space.

Following this season the Rangers will have Pavel Buchnevich, Neal Pionk, Tony DeAngelo, Freddy Claesson, Steven Fogarty, Vinni Lettieri and a few other prospects as RFAs.

Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello, Dustin Tokarski, Adam McQuaid and Cody McLeod are all slated to be UFAs.

Potential UFAs from around the NHL include Artemi Panarin, Mark Stone, Erik Karlsson, Matt Duchene, Jordan Eberle and Jeff Skinner.

Adam Rotter: Panarin is the big fish this summer and the Rangers have more than enough space to pay him, even if it’s between $9 million and $10 million. Same would go for Stone or any of the other forwards. Karlsson would be possible too, but at this moment he seems like more of a long-shot.

The RFAs in Buchnevich, Pionk and probably DeAngelo would likely, at the highest level, be around $8 million. The biggest question about the cap for next season is whether Kevin Hayes will be part of it. I think it’s 50/50 at this point but, with how he’s played under David Quinn, a greater chance that he stays than I thought prior to the season. No-trade protection is likely to be a sticking point with Hayes as he looks for stability while the Rangers look to remain flexible. Unless he’s determined to stay with the Rangers, and take a short-term deal and probably a pay cut, it seems likely that Zuccarello will be somewhere else next year.

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Beleskey, Georgiev and Lettieri sent to Hartford

The Rangers have announced that Alex Georgiev, Matt Beleskey and Vinni Lettieri have been sent down to the Hartford Wolf Pack.

Goalie Dustin Tokarski has been called up to replace Georgiev.

The Rangers do not play again until Saturday night while the Wolf Pack have games on Wednesday and Friday.

From the Rangers release, “Tokarski has appeared in 10 games with the Wolf Pack this season, posting a 5-3-1 record, along with a 3.38 GAA and a .897 SV%. He has earned a win in each of his last four appearances, and he has made at least 30 saves in each of his last two appearances. Tokarski stopped 42 of 43 shots he faced and was selected as the game’s First Star in Hartford’s 3-1 win against Bridgeport on Nov. 24.”

Mats Zuccarello (groin) has missed five straight and Vlad Namestnikov (concussion protocol) has missed the past two games but both could return to practice this week.

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Rangers blow 3-0 lead and lose to Jets in shootout (Updates)

9:30PM: David Quinn spoke with the media on MSG following the loss and said:

  • Was the early 3rd goal a turning point, “Maybe a little bit psychologically because you have a 3-0 lead,  but we were certainly opportunistic and our goalie was outstanding from the drop of the puck. Maybe, but that is one heck of a hockey team, probably the best team we’ve seen all year.”
  • Were you more conservative than you wanted, “yea, it kind of happened earlier in the season with the odd-man rushes and we make some adjustments and all the sudden you are more conservative than you want to be. We have to find that balance of being aggressive and being smart. We were anticipating being more conservative because we don’t want to give up the odd-man rushes, but we gotta continue to be aggressive and our D active in the offensive zone. We have to have good gaps, it’s a balancing act.”
  • On Skjei sitting, “it’s more of a think about things. This is a guy that we have a lot of faith in, he’s a really good player, having a little bit of a struggle and he’s gonna get right back in there and we are going to get this right and he is gonna be a big part of what we have going on now and in the future. It’s not a punishment, it’s about taking a deep breath and getting back at it.”
  • On the time off before the next game, “Rest and address some of the things that we addressed earlier in the season when we had a lot more practice time and get back to blocking and tackling and the basics, things that we need to freshen up on but rest will be part of it.”
  • On Lundqvist, “he’s as good as there is out there in my opinion. He was unbelievable and he’s why we have the record we have. Everyone talks about where we are at and, let’s be honest, he has been outstanding since Day 1. There are a lot of things we’ve done pretty well so far, but he’s the guy, he has been our best player.”

9:17PM: Henrik Lundqvist spoke with the media on MSG following the loss and said:

  • Did the momentum change early in the third, “Momentum, I don’t know what game you were watching but they owned us. We tried to survive for two periods and then they got a goal and kept coming. That was how I felt all game. We tried our best, we got a point, but they are good. They made it really tough on us to get going but we still managed to score three goals.”
  • You didn’t feel comfortable up 3-0, “I knew they were going to come, I don’t know how many chances they had in the first two periods but I knew they would have enough to tie it up. We had to play smart and with that PK we started off on our heels. When the game is like that you know they will have enough looks to come back.”

8:59PM: First Period:

  • Jesper Fast Assists: Mika Zibanejad, Marc Staal

Second Period:

  • Marc Staal Assists: Ryan Strome, Lias Andersson
  • Chris Kreider Assists: Mika Zibanejad, Neal Pionk

Third Period:

  • Mark Scheifele (Power Play) Assists: Blake Wheeler, Josh Morrissey
  • Jack Roslovic Assists: Mathieu Perreault, Jacob Trouba
  • Bryan Little Assists: Nikolaj Ehlers, Jacob Trouba

Overtime:

Shootout:

  • Kevin Shattenkirk: STOPPED
  • Kyle Connor: STOPPED
  • Mika Zibanejad: SCORES
  • Patrick Laine: SCORES
  • Jimmy Vesey: MISSED
  • Mark Scheifele: SCORES

Stats:

Adam’s Thoughts:

  • They had a chance in the shootout, but you deserve to lose if you blow a 3-0 lead heading into the third period.
  • The Rangers had the lead on the scoreboard but Winnipeg had the puck pretty much all night. Henrik Lundqvist was playing well but once the Jets got one, you could feel that two and three were right behind.
  • That third goal is the type of play that has bitten the Rangers a bunch this season. They gave too much space to Ehlers coming into the zone, allowed him to rip a great shot and then Little was able to just stroll in and bang in the rebound.
  • There was a time, especially when John Tortorella was coach, where the Rangers could hunker down with a lead in the third period and protect it. That wasn’t always the case while Alain Vigneault was coach and it’s certainly not the case now. It’s not just the defensemen, it’s the on the forwards to apply back pressure and for the players to communicate as a unit of five.
  • Henrik Lundqvist looked like he was guessing all night but, for the most part, he was terrific, especially in OT. Winnipeg has a bunch of elite scorers/shooters and they made it a tough night for him.
  • So now the Rangers have lost three in a row and have started to resemble the team that struggled for so much of October. They got things going decently for part of November but they have come back to earth. I still view them as a .500 team that will be close to a playoff spot for most of the season. If they want to be something more than just close they are going to need to eliminate nights like tonight and hold on when they have a lead.
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Updates before the game against Winnipeg

Earlier today the Rangers called up Matt Beleskey from Hartford and sent Tim Gettinger down.

Brady Skjei is believed to be out of tonight’s lineup as David Quinn said earlier today that a Ranger defenseman was battling an injury. (Stephenson)

According to the Rangers lineup sheet, the third pair on defense is Brendan Smith and Tony DeAngelo. (Stephenson)

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Rangers continue road issues with loss in Montreal

10:16PM: David Quinn met with the media on MSG following the game and said:

  • On the late first period goal, “that was a crusher, not gonna lie, that was a crusher. We had a lot of good things going on in the last 8-9 minutes of the first and had a lot of almost and some big saves. To give up that goal in the fashion that we did was a tough pill to swallow and tough to overcome. We are not in a great mindset right now and to come into the second down 2-0 playing the way we did the last 7-8 minutes and to give up a goal in that fashion really set us back.”
  • On the message during the timeout, “we just gotta recollect ourselves, plenty of time left in the game, not feel sorry for ourselves and keep playing the right way. It was getting away from us and you can see guys hanging their heads and starting to do things and pressing and trying to get four goals on one shift. We just had to chip away at it and stick together and not play the score but play the next best shift and give ourselves and chance and we did that.”

9:46PM: First Period:

  • Shea Weber Assists: Jonathan Drouin, Max Domi
  • Shea Weber Assists: Tomas Tatar, Brendan Gallagher

Second Period:

  • Artturi Lehkonen Assists: Paul Byron, Jordie Benn
  • Artturi Lehkonen
  • Jimmy Vesey Assists: Brendan Smith, Mika Zibanejad
  • Ryan Strome (Power Play) Assists: Jimmy Vesey, Mika Zibanejad

Third Period:

  • Tomas Tatar (Power Play) Assists: Kenny Agostino, David Schlemko

Stats:

Adam Rotter:

  • Saturday night’s in Montreal are rarely, if ever, good for the Rangers and this one followed in that tradition.
  • Turnovers and mistakes were filling the Rangers net as their road woes continue. It’s one of those times for the Rangers where when things go bad they go in the back of the net.
  • Brady Skjei was given the long-term deal to be a focal part of the Rangers future but he has not taken off in the way they hoped he would under David Quinn. I think there is still a ton of time for him to reach his potential, but he needs to be better.
  • These are the stretches that hopefully lead to better things for the Rangers down the line. They hired David Quinn for these times of teaching and development. The hope is that the young players are taking in these moments and experiences and learning how to handle them and get better from it.
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Friday’s updates on the Rangers

5:37PM: Quinn spoke and said (NYR):

  • On being vocal at practice, “last night wasn’t acceptable and we felt that today was an opportunity to correct some of the things that have crept into our game and be better against Montreal.”
  • On DeAngelo at forward, “that was more to round out the lines. He won’t be playing forward against Montreal. Vinny is coming up.”
  • On Georgiev starting, “we want to have both guys ready to go. Hank is our guy but Georgie is a guy that we trust and we want to give him ample opportunity to continue to grow and you need to two goalies.
  • On McQuaid, “he is getting closer, might be another two weeks or so but he is getting closer.”
  • On Howden, “I don’t love putting a cap on a guy, he has an awful lot of talent and is so far for us a great two-way forward, productive offensively, responsible in our end and kills penalties. He’s done a little bit of everything for us and at 20-years old you never want to project a guy because sometimes it hinders their growth. I just want him to get better at the pace he is getting better and be the best player he can possibly be and see where it takes him.”
  • Was the situation with Shattenkirk resolved, “absolutely. You will see him tomorrow night. (Smile)
  • Is it easier or more difficult to make those decisions, “after, it makes it more difficult but when you make those decisions you just make them because it’s what needs to happen.”
  • Why do you still have to bench someone like Shattenkirk, “family, we all have famillies and disagreements yet we all still love each other. Sometimes those actions call for those reactions but you move past it. Literally, there is zero issue moving forward.”

3:54PM: At Rangers practice on Friday it was announced that Vinni Lettieri will be called up and that Alex Georgiev will start in net against Montreal. (Stephenson)

The lines being used were (Stephenson):

  • Chris Kreider, Kevin Hayes, Filip Chytil
  • Jimmy Vesey, Mika Zibanejad, Jesper Fast
  • Ryan Strome, Brett Howden, Lias Andersson

Tony DeAngelo was skating with Tim Gettinger and Steven Fogarty but with Lettieri coming up, it’s likely that DeAngelo will be scratched tomorrow. (Stephenson)

The defense pairs used were Marc Staal and Neal Pionk, Freddy Claesson and Kevin Shattenkirk, Brady Skjei and Brendan Smith. (Stephenson)