New York Rangers Head Coach John Tortorella made the first round of cuts from training camp this afternoon. To see a complete list of who is left in camp check out the Ranger website or you can check out Andrew Gross' blog here.
Not really alot of surprises as many of the younger players were sent back to their junior teams or the Hartford Wolf Pack. Among the young players surviving you have Matt Gilroy, Michael Del Zotto, and Evgeny Grachev. Surprisingly Ilkka Heikkinen survived the first round of cuts despite not having suited up in a Ranger uniform. He must have impressed while playing for the Wolf Pack against the Lowell Devils at the Prudential Center.
Also surviving is defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti who has yet to play in any preseason games after cramping up during conditioning skates in the first few days of camp. Sanguinetti will get his shot but he is on a very short leash and will have to seriously impress if he does not want to spend another season down in Hartford.
Returning to major junior hockey in Canada are Tomas Kundratek (Medicine Hat WHL), Ethan Werek (Kingston OHL), Ryan Bourque (Quebec QMJHL), Roman Horak (Chilliwack WHL), and Scott Stajcer (Owen Sound OHL). Bourque will be starting his rookie season in the Quebec Major Junior league under the direction of Patrick Roy with the Quebec Remparts. After an impressive Traverse City and preseason game with the Wolf Pack. Look for him to have a big year in the Q.
Tortorella said that the team will be down to two goalies by the end of the weekend. No doubt the two left standing will be Henrik Lundqvist and Steve Valiquette. However there is no question that Chad Johnson has impressed during camp and will be competing for the job in Hartford.
In other news Marian Gaborik will not play on Friday but is a possibility for Saturday. Either way Torts and Gaborik have both said he will play in the preseason at some point. Gaborik did skate in a scrimmage today and scored a goal so it seems he is on his way to being healthy. While it may be frustrating, it is good that the organization is handling this situation with care and not taking unnecessary risks with their new star player.
If there is one person I could throw off the roster right now it would be Michal Rozsival. He played absolutely horrible against the Devils being the main cause of both goals. Whether it would be through waivers or trading him away Rozsival must go. Considering the whole Dubinsky situation I hope the Rangers can package Rozsival in that deal and free up space while getting rid of someone who does not deserve the money.
I'm not expecting it to happen but with Glen Sather at the helm one never knows how this will turn out.
On the Coyotes front, they made a few cuts of their own, most notably Jared Staal (Sudbury OHL). They also sent back Michael Stone (Calgary WHL) and Mathieu Brodeur (Cape Breton QMJHL). Phoenix is not making the cuts as fast as the Rangers but both will get down to the required number just the same. Ulf Samuelsson is still running camp as Wayne Gretzky figures out his contract situation away from the ice.
The season is two weeks away and still so much needs to be sorted out. Should be an interesting couple of weeks to whittle the roster down.