There were a couple of mild surprises on the list of last cuts, including Chris Kreider, the former Ranger first-round draft pick, who was a regular for the big club during much of its playoff run last spring; Stu Bickel, mostly a Ranger since Christmastime two seasons ago; and Darroll Powe, who has been in the NHL since very early in the 2008-09 season. On the other hand, Kreider has had problems with consistency since turning pro, Bickel was the odd man out on the Ranger defense at the end of last year and Powe and Arron Asham were waived by the Rangers at the beginning of the NHL free agency period in July. So none of those assignments is a complete stunner.
Those seven arrivals from New York ballooned the Wolf Pack roster to 38 players, necessitating a housecleaning at the AHL level, and the Wolf Pack in turn trimmed 14 players from its list this evening. A significant indication of the Pack’s depth is the fact that highly-regarded, NHL-contracted rookies Michael St. Croix, a fourth-round Ranger pick in 2011, and Josh Nicholls were among the players reassigned to ECHL Greenville, and defenseman Sam Klassen, a top-pair blueliner for the Whale for much of last season, was released outright.
Brodie Dupont’s quest to earn a spot with the Wolf Pack remains alive, as he is one of two unsigned players, with Shawn O’Donnell being the other, still in the Pack fold. It will be interesting to see whether the organization offers Dupont an AHL contract or if starting the season on a PTO (Pro Tryout) ends up being his only option. Not sure Dupont would be interested in taking a PTO, but we’ll see.
Three goalies, Cam Talbot, Jason Missiaen and Scott Stajcer, remain on the roster, but Stajcer is rehabbing an injury and has yet to play. Right now the club is carrying two extra forwards and one extra D-man, which I suspect is about where the organization wants it to be to start the season. Among the 24 players currently on the Rangers’ roster are Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin, both of whom are recovering from shoulder surgery and whose immediate availability for duty is questionable. Once both of those guys are ready to play, it would seem that at least one more move would be necessary for the parent club.