Part of the reason the New York Rangers went out and traded for Brendan Smith from Detroit was his versatility on the back end. Despite being left-handed, Smith is experienced on both sides of the ice and has been playing with Ryan McDonagh to start his Rangers career. With both Kevin Klein and Dan Girardi out, New York has been playing five left-handed defenders.
There was hope that Kevin Klein would return sooner than later, but he won’t travel with the team as they head out on a four-game road trip according to Brett Cyrgalis of the NY Post. Head coach Alain Vigneault told Cyrgalis he’s “not really sure what’s going on there” when speaking about Klein, who hasn’t played since February 21st.
- The Rangers have also been without Jesper Fast and Michael Grabner recently, but got some good news on one of them today. Grabner will travel with the team and test his hip tomorrow morning before their game in Tampa Bay—though he’s not expected to play. The team’s leading goal scorer, Grabner has had an unbelievable season with 26 markers. That’s his highest total since 2010-11 when he broke into the league with 34 as a 23-year old.
- Despite many fans fears that Tanner Glass will get into tomorrow’s game at the expense of a young forward, Vigneault hasn’t made up his mind yet. Glass was recalled along with Steven Kampfer this morning, and would be making his 2016-17 debut for the Rangers if he got into the lineup. The 33-year old Glass is know for his bang-and-crash style, recording no fewer than 130 hits in any of his full NHL seasons. The Rangers’ current leader in hits among forwards is Chris Kreider with 102, with no one else breaking 100.