The New York Rangers have announced the team's third round of cuts from the pre-season roster.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) September 25, 2013
The Rangers were originally going to keep the roster intact until Friday but changed plans in an effort to get the roster closer to finalized and let the players develop chemistry. If I am counting correctly, then 31 players remain to fight for 21-23 roster spots. Accounting for Lundqvist and Biron, who are locked in as the two goaltenders, there are 29 skaters fighting for 19-21 spots.
Kristo is perhaps the most surprising cut with the Rangers needing wingers capable of providing offense in light of Callahan and Hagelin's injuries. However, he certainly proved to be raw and could use some time in the AHL. Hagelin and McDonagh similarly needed some time coming out of college. Kantor and Yogan were never realistically fighting for roster spots at this time and did well to make it this far. They'll be getting legitimate looks next year, if not midseason this year.
Defensively, it's no surprise to see McIlrath get sent down as he struggled against the Flyers and the top-six is set in stone. Another year, with perhaps a call up opportunity, won't hurt him. It's a bit surprising to see Aaron Johnson sent down this quickly, though he wasn't very impressive in his pre-season appearances. He certainly showed more than Stu Bickel, who somehow survived the cuts. Conor Allen sticking this long is equally surprising but for all the right reasons. I think he's been the 7th best defensemen on the roster, though I find it incredibly unlikely the Rangers keep him as a healthy scratch when he'd be better off getting key minutes in Hartford.
Impressive showing from Cam Talbot this pre-season but he was never going to unseat Martin Biron as the backup goaltender. Biron's contract expires after the season. Thus, a strong campaign in Hartford this season would make the Rangers think hard about giving Talbot his opportunity next season.
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