The Rangers announced this morning that they have sent five players to Hartford, and will take 39 players on the Western pre-season trip (not including Derek Stepan).
Included in the group reassigned are Brendon Nash, Ryan Bourque, Josh Nicholls, Shawn O’Donnell, and Michael St. Croix. Nicholls and St. Croix, both of whom will be first year pros this season, did not appear in either of the two pre-season games this week. Neither Nicholls nor St. Croix had a chance of making the NHL team, but each had a decent camp, so they were likely kept with the big team after Sunday’s first cuts.
Bourque, who is the final year of his ELC, did not play in the pre-season games either. He did improve his play significant last season in Connecticut, but will have to continue on that same or an even better trajectory for the Rangers to re-sign him.
As for O’Donnell, who played on Monday night in New Jersey, the former St. Mary’s University player is likely to be offered an AHL contract sometime over the next couple of weeks.
Twenty-six year old Brendon Nash, is a defenseman who has spent two seasons with three AHL teams thus far–Hartford will be his fourth team in the league since 2010. He had an excellent rookie pro season after Cornell (30 points in 75 games with Hamilton) in 2010-11, but has never come near replicating that achievement again. His ELC expired at the end of last seasons and he was hoping to catch on in New York, but it did not happen.
As far as the backup goalie battle is concerned. The Rangers announced late this morning that Johan Hedberg, who did a good job between the pipes during camp, has been released from his PTO. So, it will be Henrik Lundqvist, Marty Biron and Cam Talbot going on the Western trip.