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Rangers return to action w/ game vs. PHI, DeBrusk, Berard, Garard, Othmann

December 1, 2021, 8:52 AM ET [220 Comments]
Jan Levine
New York Rangers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Rangers, after an unplanned three days off, return to action Wednesday against the Flyers. New York's game against the Isles was canceled due to COVID-19 absences, giving the team another mini-vacation. The Blueshirts face Philly, San Jose and Chicago at home, the latter game the front-end of a home-and-home separated by two more off days, over the next four days

Wednesday's lineup is expected to be the same as last Friday's, when New York defeated Boston. If it's not broke, don't fix it. The top-three lines have supplied enough offense for now, while the fourth line has provided a solid forecheck. The Laf-Chytil-Gauthier took major strides forward last week, blending speed along with physicality when needed and sustained forecheck to create offensive chances.

Greg McKegg remains out due to COVID-19 protocols and with Hartford's game tomorrow night canceled for a similar reason, no call ups are imminent. On the blue line, Jarred Tinordi and Libor Hajek remain the seventh and eighth defensemen, as well they should. Igor Shesterkin will be in net, and based on the recent stretch of days off, he should run the table this week.

Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, Kaapo Kakko
Artemi Panarin, Ryan Strome, Dryden Hunt
Alexis Lafreniere, Filip Chytil, Julien Gauthier
Kevin Rooney, Barclay Goodrow, Ryan Reaves

As the NY Post noted, the Flyers are coming into Wednesday’s contest on a six-game losing skid, in which they’ve been outscored 26-11 — including a shootout and overtime loss to the Lightning and Panthers, respectively. Currently sitting in second to last in the division, Philadelphia has been without former Blueshirt Kevin Hayes, who has played in just two games after undergoing abdominal surgery in September, and Derick Brassard, who has missed the last three games. All this sounds great on paper, but it's a divisional game, so records mean little. Plus, it's against AV, adding a bit more spice to the contest.

The Rangers, at least per Darren Dreger, have interest in Boston left winger Jake DeBrusk, who has requested a trade. DeBrusk has one-year left on his contract with a cap hit of $3.675 million and will require a qualifying offer of around $4.85 million for the team to retain his rights. For this season, he might be a fit as a middle-six forward, but given all the other restricted free agents New York will need to be concerned with and minimal cap room available, he would be a rest of the season rental.

DeBrusk had a solid first season, including scoring 27 goals his sophomore campaign. since then, his game has regressed. Injuries hurt him last year, but DeBrusk has either been a healthy scratch or relegated to the fourth line. In addition, he is a left winger, of which the Rangers have an abundance with little ability to switch to the right side. He does bring a physical presence and meets the middle-six requirement of GM Chris Drury, but for the reasons just noted, I think he is a long shot to end up with the Blueshirts.

Congrats to Brett Berard (selected in the fifth round of the 2020 draft) for being named to the preliminary USA WJC roster. Most believe he is a lock to make the team. On the Team Canada side of the house. Dylan Garand (fourth round, 2020) is all but certain to earn a spot while Brendan Othmann (first round, 2021) appears to have a good probability of joining Garand as well. Othman, as seen above, was just named OHL Player of the Week and has been dominant this season.

Update: Garard and Will Cuylle on preliminary roster, Othmann inexplicably left off.

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