How far will the Rangers get this season?

Training Camp Roster And 6 Battles To Watch
Camp opens today with "The Test"...

Can Michael Del Zotto reclaim a spot on the crowded blueline?

Can Michael Del Zotto reclaim a spot on the crowded blueline?

The Rangers will bring the following 37 forwards, 20 defenders and six goaltenders to training camp according to Andrew Gross:

Artem Anisimov
Jonathan Audy-Marchessault
Sean Avery
Ryan Bourque
Brian Boyle
Ryan Callahan
Erik Christensen
Andre Deveaux
Brandon Dubinsky
Ruslan Fedotenko
Marian Gaborik
Tommy Grant
Carl Hagelin
Jordan Hickmott
Tayler Jordan
Kale Kerbashian
Chad Kolarik
Shane McColgan
J.T. Miller
John Mitchell
Kris Newbury
Brandon Prust
Brad Richards
Mike Rupp
Michael St. Croix
Derek Stepan
Kelsey Tessier
Christian Thomas
Andreas Thuresson
Dale Weise
Jason Wilson
Wojtek Wolski
Andrew Yogan
Mats Zuccarello

Scott Tanski

Chris McKelvie

Matt Rust

Lee Baldwin
Brendan Bell
Stu Bickel
Collin Bowman
Peter Ceresnak
Michael Del Zotto
Steve Eminger
Tim Erixon
Dan Girardi
Sam Klassen
Tomas Kundratek
Ryan McDonagh
Dylan McIlrath
Jyri Niemi
Jared Nightingale
Samuel Noreau
Blake Parlett
Mike Sauer
Marc Staal
Pavel Valentenko

Martin Biron
Chad Johnson
Henrik Lundqvist
Jason Missiaen
Scott Stajcer
Cameron Talbot

All the tryout invitees from Traverse City were brought to training camp.  The Rangers didn’t invite any veteran players to training camp as they have in the past.  Interestingly, puglist Randy McNaught is not listed on the roster.  Also, $6.5 million AHL defenseman Wade Redden wasn’t invited to camp.

Today will be Coach John Tortorella’s infamous endurance skating test, designed to test conditioning.  Mike Sauer, who tweaked his knee at an informal practice, and Blake Parlett, who was injured at Traverse City, won’t participate in “The Test.”


Training camp is (finally) set to open and a new season of Rangers hockey is upon us.  Expectations are through the roof thanks to a surprising campaign in 2009-2010, the development of impressive young players and the signing of star center Brad Richards, but before we get to the regular season, there is still the matter of finalizing the roster and that could present some difficult decisions for Coach John Tortorella. 

Here are the six battles to watch at training camp:

Wojtek Wolski vs. Himself – The enigmatic left wing has reportedly been working his tail off this summer and may finally be ready to make the most of his potential.  But even if Wolski is in tremendous physical shape and has matured as a person and player, he’ll still have to fend off critics, convince the coaching staff of his revival and keep himself focused on the task at hand.  Wolski has been a frequent scapegoat in recent years, which can take a huge mental toll, so that’s easier said than done.  If Wolski can tune out everything except what happens on the ice, he has the talent to have a huge impact for the Blueshirts.

First-Line Left Wing – Brandon Dubinsky skated alongside Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik at the team’s informal skates this month, but it’s unclear whether that’s the preference of Tortorella or simply experimentation by the players.  In any case, Dubinsky appears to be the leading contender for first-line duties, though Wolski could pose a major challenge if he’s focused.  Ruslan Fedotenko and Sean Avery also have their supporters, but it would be a major shock if they won the job.  Avery, Mike Rupp and Carl Hagelin will be fighting for playing time on the bottom lines.

Dale Weise vs. The Field – Weise has become the forgotten prospect thanks to the considerable young talent the Rangers have stockpiled, but there are still plenty that believe Weise is destined for a solid career as a third- or fourth-line player.  Weise played 10 games for the Rangers last year while the team suffered through a plague of injuries and did an admirable job of filling in.  There are several more talented players with greater potential at camp, but Weise has plenty of AHL seasoning and may be more NHL-ready than his younger counterparts.  Whether he can push a veteran off the roster may be the bigger question.

Sean Avery vs. John Tortorella – Avery has frequently found himself in Coach John Tortorella’s doghouse since returning to New York in 2009 and his penchant for drawing negative attention both on the ice and off it, where he made plenty of headlines this summer, makes him a major question mark entering camp.  There’s no denying that Avery has the speed, passing ability and forechecking prowess to be an effective NHL player even at the age of 31, but is he worth all the trouble?  Maybe under a different coach, but Tortorella may have had enough.  Avery will face an uphill climb, but there’s a chance that he’ll click with Richards and Gaborik when others can’t and that could be one way he forces himself onto the opening night roster.

Christian Thomas vs. Mats Zuccarello – Barring a strange set of circumstances, Zuccarello is in good shape to secure a spot on the opening night roster.  How long he’ll last is another question, because it’s become clear that some are skeptical about Zuccarello’s chances of succeeding in the NHL.  The Norwegian Hobbit is a shootout magician and makes for a great story, but his size may be too much of an obstacle to overcome.  Thomas played decently at Traverse City, but he would have to blow the team away at camp to secure a permanent job.  Still, he could play nine games for the Rangers before they would have to decide whether to keep him on the NHL squad permanently or return him to juniors.  In all likelihood, Thomas will spend one more year with the Oshawa Generals while the Rangers figure out what they have in Zuccarello, but Thomas has the talent to make this a competition and Zuccarello’s popularity could be waning.

Tim Erixon vs. Michael Del Zotto vs. Steve Eminger vs. Brendan Bell vs. Tomas Kundratek vs. Pavel Valentenko – The top-four defensemen are set in stone, but what the Rangers choose to do with their final two, and probably three, blueline spots is up in the air.  Erixon was stolen from Calgary in a June trade and seems poised to have a major impact this year.  If he plays well at training camp, he’ll win a roster spot.  Del Zotto is coming off a rollercoaster season and might be best served by some additional time with the CT Whale, but after Erixon he’s the most talented player of this group.  Eminger is the veteran journeyman that knows the system, so if there is any uncertainty he’d be the logical guy to win a job.  Bell was a depth signing that hasn’t played in the NHL since 2009, but he offers some security and wouldn’t be a bad seventh defender.  Kundratek is rock-solid defensively while Valentenko brings a rocket of a slap shot and impressive shot-blocking ability.  Both are expected to return to the CT Whale, but Valentenko was a late cut last September and both of these players are thought to be nearly NHL-ready.  The best guess is that Erixon and Eminger start the season as the third pair and Bell is carried as the seventh defenseman, but any of the other three could surprise at camp and could also be called up shortly after the start of the season.



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Posted by Kevin Baumer | September 16, 2011 at 12:01 am

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New York Rangers VS Chicago Blackhawks
Wednesday, October 7, 2015

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