The New York Rangers have been one of the biggest stories of the NHL this season, with their unbelievable start followed by some struggling of late that’s seen them relinquish the top spot in the Metropolitan Division. Still scoring at an incredible rate, the team is now facing some injuries up front to some of their biggest names according to Jim Cerny of The Hockey Writers.
Rick Nash has been taken for an MRI on his groin after leaving the game last night in the second period. Nash has 18 points through the first 27 games and is actually on a similar pace to his career-worst 36 point 2015-16. Groin injuries often linger, so if it’s anything significant it could spell trouble for the remainder of the 32-year old veteran’s season. Nash has one more year remaining after this one at $7.8MM for the Rangers as he nears the end of the eight-year, $62.4MM deal he signed in 2009.
- Jimmy Vesey, the summer’s most sought-after (or at least talked about) free agent is off to a solid start to his NHL career with 16 points in 27 games. The Harvard alum is dealing with an upper-body injury and is currently listed as day-to-day. After going through a considerable lull in November when he scored just three points in eleven games, Vesey got back on the board last night. Especially if Nash is to miss time, the Rangers will need the rookie to step up and handle more responsibility and ice time on the wing if they’re to get back on track.
- Another depth option was Matt Puempel, but after suffering a concussion last night he’s been listed as out indefinitely and been placed on injured reserve. Puempel was claimed by New York off waivers from the Ottawa Senators last month after he was held pointless through 13 games. While he’s fared just slightly better for the Rangers (one goal in six games), his relative youth and pedigree (drafted 24th overall in 2011) suggest he could still develop into a legitimate NHL winger. Last season, Puempel scored 30 points in 34 games at the AHL level, but never really got a chance to prove he could fit into the Senators’ long-term plans. All of a sudden the Rangers depth on the wing, once a strength of the team, is looking rather thin.