Rangers face Red Wings, Kakko/Chytil on LTIR, Fox returns to lineup
The Rangers face the Red Wings at home tonight. Ironic that the opponent is Detroit, who signed Patrick Kane yesterday, but Kane and Dylan Larkin will not be in the lineup. With all going on with New York, the focus on the game has almost become secondary due to those going on and coming off LTIR.
Kaapo Kakko will miss significant time with the injury he suffered Monday night but is not expected to be sidelined for the balance of the season. Specifics in the injury tales has yet to be provided. He was placed on LTIR, joined by Filip Chytil, who has been sidelined since November 2 and can return as soon as he is healthy. Chytil has been skating on his own for a little bit, but has yet to return to practice, even in a non-contact jersey. Coming off LTIR is Adam Fox, who will retake his spot next to Ryan Lindgren and on the first unit power play. Erik Gustafsson has been good but the PP was humming with Fox before he was sidelined and the adage of you don’t lose your spot to injury applies a bit here.
New York called up Jonny Brodzinski and Adam Edström, though Edström did not last long as he was sent down last night to add a few dollars in available cap space down the road. The mere fact that Edström got a look see shows how far he has come from being a sixth round pick in 2019. His size, as he is 6-foot-8 and speed make an intriguing fourth line package and
Edström could see game action before the end of the season.
As noted in the tweet above, the Rangers will have approximately $5.691 million of cap space available from their LTIR pool with Fox returning to active duty. But when Chytil returns, that number will diminish by $4,437,500. In addition, the club will at some point need enough space to accommodate Kakko’s $2.1 million when he is ready, though for all we know, they could be when the playoffs start. If that is the case, Kakko’s cap hit will mean nothing as you can be over the cap in the postseason as we saw with Tampa and Nikita Kucherov.
One key to remember is that cap space will not accrue as long as the Rangers are in an LTIR circumstance. What this does mean is that New York will have less cap space than first hoped for come the trade deadline. Originally, they were projected to be somewhat north of $2 million if the available space was managed properly. The figure now might be less given the LTIR usage, though, that may depend on when Kakko will actually be able and ready to return.
In the near-term, the Blueshirts called up Brodzinski from Hartford. Brodzinski was excelling in the AHL with 11 goals and 14 assists in 16 games. With Kakko and Chytil out and Brodzinski up, look for either Jimmy Vesey or Barclay Goodrow to move up and skate on right wing on the third line with Brodzinski slotting in to their slot on the fourth line. It’s possible Brodzinski slots in at wing in the third line, which might be the direction they go. Last, Tyler Pitlick could move up, but he is likely better suited to the fourth line.