When reports came out this summer that New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal would have to win his job in camp, many people immediately assumed he would not be able to. After all, he now had to battle it out with several younger, more mobile options. The Rangers had brought in Neal Pionk, Anthony DeAngelo, and Russian defender Alexei Bereglazov to compete for spots. Instead, none of the three are on the roster as the Rangers get set to take on the Arizona Coyotes tonight, and Bereglazov especially is an interesting case.
Bereglazov signed a two-year, entry-level contract this summer with the team after showing some improved offensive ability. The 23-year old KHL veteran has yet to see any action with the Rangers, instead suiting up for their AHL affiliate in Hartford. His deal always had a reported European Assignment Clause, meaning he could return to Russia should he find himself in the minors, and now Yevgeni Belousov of Sport-Express has been told a decision could be made at the beginning of November. That news comes from the VP of Bereglazov’s former team in Magnitogorsk, and shouldn’t be taken to mean that the defender has any problem with staying in North American and playing in the AHL. He hasn’t indicated anything like that, and it comes with no surprise that Magnitogorsk would want him back.
There doesn’t seem to be an opening at the NHL level right now, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be at any moment. While DeAngelo has seemingly blown his latest chance at a full-time role, a Bereglazov recall could be just a single injury away. It’s also interesting to note that just today Magnitogorsk re-signed Chris Lee, the veteran defender who had been trying to earn a job in the NHL. Since he’s expected to log big minutes in the KHL once again, perhaps it is a little less appealing of a destination to the young Russian.