Wolf Pack Make First Cuts

The Wolf Pack are down from 44 players, nearly two full teams, in training camp to 32 bodies in camp and 29 officially on the roster.

The difference in the two numbers is because of the status of goaltenders Cedrick Desjardins and Mackenzie Skapski and forward Nick Tarnasky. Those players are physically with the Wolf Pack but still are technically on the Rangers’ injured reserve because they are injured, and an injured player cannot be sent to the AHL until he is healthy.

Noreau Action Shot

Sam Noreau

Twelve players were moved on Friday prior to the Wolf Pack leaving for Allentown, PA and their next preseason action Saturday against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. All of those players were tryouts, except for defensemen Sam Noreau and Troy Donnay, both of whom are NHL-contracted guys. Those two will head to ECHL Greenville, Noreau for his third season in a Swamp Rabbit (nee Road Warrior) uniform and Donnay for his rookie pro year after five seasons in the Ontario Hockey League.

All of the players reassigned or released played in the Wolf Pack’s preseason opener, a 3-2 overtime win at Bridgeport Thursday night, except for goaltender Alex Vazzano. One other tryout, forward Alex Krushelnyski, who had an assist and was, I thought, the Wolf Pack’s most noticeable player, was kept around and made the trip to Allentown.

Meanwhile, the Rangers trimmed their roster down to the regular-season limit of 23 by placing forward Jayson Megna and veteran defenseman Rafael Diaz on waivers. That means that Wolf Pack products Oscar Lindberg and Dylan McIlrath have made the opening NHL roster, a big thrill for a pair of real solid guys.

“I’m obviously really excited,” McIlrath said to the New York media after Ranger practice Friday. “It’s been a pretty long road to get to this point, so it’s even more gratifying when you reach this point having faced some adversity. I couldn’t be happier to be here now. It definitely doesn’t stop now, it’s just starting, and I have a lot of work to do.”

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