Forwards (25)Rangers from last season (10): Derick Brassard, Jesper Fast, Carl Hagelin, Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller, Dominic Moore, Rick Nash, Martin St. Louis, Derek Stepan, Mats Zuccarello.
Of these guys, only Fast and Miller aren't obvious locks to make the team, and with the Rangers' center shortage (NB: Stepan is out 4-6 weeks starting today) and Vigneault's high praise of his game Monday, Miller's got a very good shot as well (I seem to be the only person who isn't 100% on board there). But even discounting Miller, that leaves 4 lineup openings, plus 1-2 "extras."
"Veterans" who signed in the off-season (7): Tanner Glass, Matthew Lombardi, Ryan Malone, Chris Mueller, Ryan Potulny, Lee Stempniak, Nick Tarnasky.
Stempniak is a virtual lock, and given all reports about him and how well he played Monday night, I have to imagine Malone is as well. Mueller and Lombardi are both possible options at center, especially if Miller doesn't happen to make the cut. Even if Stepan were healthy, one of those 3 would almost certainly skate on opening night; quite possibly, two will. Failing that, Potulny and Tarnasky, like Mueller, are centers who have been back and forth between the NHL and AHL, but each is less likely to make the team: unlike Lombardi and Mueller, who are on 1-way deals with the Rangers, Tarnasky is on a 2-way deal, and Potulny is signed only to the Wolf Pack. Anyway, whichever two additional centers make it, plus the 8 mentioned above, plus Stempniak and Malone already makes 12. But, of course, that includes Stepan, and the Rangers will likely carry at least 13 forwards, so that still leaves 1-2 spots open for Glass, who is definitely a possibility, given the coach's past affections for him.
Prospects who were around last year, too (6): Ryan Bourque, Anthony Duclair, Ryan Haggerty, Marek Hrivik, Danny Kristo, Oscar Lindberg.
In this space, you have heard about Bourque, Duclair, Hrivik, Kristo, and Lindberg multiple times in previous years in this space before, as well as a bit about Bourque and Kristo from their performances Monday night. Haggerty's a weird case whose name you may have heard without knowing why: we signed the 21-year-old on March 12 of this year, a week after the trade deadline, to an entry-level deal, beating other teams to him on the contingency that he'd spend the season on the Rangers' roster. That's right, 2013-'14 was technically Haggerty's rookie season. (Of course, he never played.) I'm excited to see some of Duclair, Hrivik, Lindberg, and Haggerty in the coming week or two, and I have to imagine each of these 6 guys has a similar long shot at the squad.
New prospects (2): Chris Bourque, Kevin Hayes.
We covered Bourque's off-season signing; Hayes's was a little different in that he was a Blackhawks draft pick in 2010 - their first-round pick, actually - but they never signed him. So, when his rights expired this off-season, we grabbed him up. I have to imagine that Hayes, a center, has a better chance of making the team than Bourque, but both are likely in the same boat as all 6 prospects in the previous category. Again, we're only one preseason game into camp; some of this is necessarily unclear.
Defensemen (14):Rangers from last season (7): Conor Allen, Dan Girardi, Kevin Klein, Ryan McDonagh, Dylan McIlrath, John Moore, Marc Staal.
Did you guys remember that Dylan McIlrath played 2 games for us last season? I sure didn't. But I remembered that Conor Allen did! Cause I love me some Conor Allen, you guys. The other five guys on this list are pretty obvious locks to make the team, with Moore as a low-possibility exception, leaving only 1 regular roster spot (which will be filled by Dan Boyle, whom we'll list in a second). So the competition is really just for the 7th (and possibly 8th) defender(s). Allen no doubt has a better shot than McIlrath at that, but again, who knows?
"Veterans" who signed in the off-season (4): Dan Boyle, Matt Hunwick, Steven Kampfer, Michael Kostka.
Obviously, Boyle fills in the remaining top 6 spot. Hunwick, Kampfer, and Kostka are all possible depth options, but none appears to be impressing enough to give Moore an actual challenge for his spot; also, if we put stock in what we saw Monday night, I cannot imagine Kostka being a viable option, and the Hunwick-Kampfer pair apparently had a Corsi of -10. That's in one game, folks.
Prospects who were around last year, too (1): Tommy Hughes.
You may remember Hughes from last off-season. Weirdly, he's the only defenseman left at camp who was in the Rangers' system a year ago but who didn't play an NHL game last season. I'm excited to see him play later this week.
New prospects (2): Mat Bodie, Petr Zamorsky.
I missed both these signings in my AHL report, I don't know anything about these kids, and it would be irresponsible and useless to make guesses. We'll probably see them play hockey next week, though.
Goalies (4):Rangers from last season (3): Henrik Lundqvist, Jason Missiaen, Cam Talbot.
Missiaen makes this list despite not yet having played an NHL game because he backed up Lundqvist a few times last season, and you should have heard of him by now. Regardless, if we thought the shot of a new defenseman making the team was bleak, the goalie situation makes Tommy Hughes's chances at the NHL look like Ernie Els's chances of making par at the putt-putt. (You guys I think I just made a golf joke. Is putt-putt a thing you call mini golf? Is Ernie Els a golfer? I think so, to both!) Lundqvist and Talbot will start the season on the roster, the other two guys won't. This is the easiest prediction in the world.
"Veterans" who signed in the off-season (1): Cedrick Desjardins.
Desjardins only has 9 NHL games' experience, all with Tampa, spread across 3 seasons in 4 years. But he's 28, so I think it's fair to put him in the "veterans" category instead of the prospects category. There's not much to say about him, as the goalie situation is set, but it may be worth noting that Wikipedia says his nickname is "Cedrick the Entertainer."
So that's the whole 43-man list left at camp. It's helpful to me, if not to you. After 3 nights off, the Rangers will play 3 preseason games in 5 nights, starting Friday night in Chicago and ending with a home-and-home against the Flyers Monday and Tuesday. In those 3 games, we should see everyone on the 43-man list that we didn't see Monday night at least once, except Stepan, of course. Some we will see more than that. After these games, on Wednesday, October 1, Vigneault plans to make the next round of cuts. So, until then, there's more sorta-hockey!