The Rangers have announced that they have called up winger Mats Zuccarello from the CT Whale. Zuccarello has been playing at about a point per game pace with the Whale, with 36 points (12-24-36) in 37 games.
It’s about time someone was called up, because the fourth line of Mike Rupp-John Mitchell-John Scott just wasn’t getting it done. The Rangers clearly needed more skill in the lineup, and hopefully Zuccarello can bring that.
If Dubinsky can’t go tonight, which might be the case considering the call up, then expect Scott to be scratched for Zuccarello.
Per the AHL transaction page, both Wojtek Wolski and Jeff Woywitka have been recalled following their two-week conditioning stints. Both guys got into six games with the Whale, with Wolski scoring three goals. He should step right back into the lineup tomorrow with Ruslan Fedotenko banged up, but Woywitka will probably have to sit on the sidelines a little longer. With any luck, Wolski will show something over the next few games and fetch something useful at the trade deadline.
As expected, goaltender Chad Johnson was returned to the AHL immediately following last night’s 3-0 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Johnson was called up to serve as the backup to Henrik Lundqvist. Martin Biron was supposed to start the game, but was scratched with the flu. With no games for the next week, it is likely that Biron will be healthy enough for action when games resume.
In other news, per Josh Rimer, Carl Hagelin is expected to be named to the Rookie Game as an injury replacement. Good to see the kid get rewarded for his play. He has
succeeded exceeded everyone’s expectations, even those who watched him reguarly at Michigan.
Per the AHL Transaction Log, the Rangers have called up forward Erik Christensen and goaltender Chad Johnson. Christensen’s call up is obvious: his two week training stint with the Whale ended.
As for Johnson, it looks like he will dress as the backup tonight, as Martin Biron –the slated starter for tonight– is out with the flu.
The Johnson call up is clearly temporary, but it will be interesting to see how the Rangers handle Christensen. Wojtek Wolski has been just as useless as Christensen, but Christensen’s cap hit is $3 million less. It wouldn’t shock me to see Wolski waived in lieu of Christensen.
The Rangers have returned forward Kris Newbury to the CT Whale of the AHL. Newbury’s second stint with the Rangers lasted one game, where he was on the ice for three Canadiens goals. Newbury finished the game with under seven minutes of ice time and a -3 rating. He looked incredibly lost against a much faster Montreal team.
Newbury’s return to CT means that one of Brandon Dubinsky or Ruslan Fedotenko will be ready to go tomorrow against Nashville.
The Rangers have called up Kris Newbury from the CT Whale. The call up is likely a precautionary move to replace Ruslan Fedotenko in the lineup, who left last night’s game with back spasms.
Brandon Dubinsky is still a game time decision with his shoulder injury. If Dubi can play, then Newbury likely won’t dress. If he can’t then expect to see Newbury slide into Fedotenko’s spot in the lineup.
As expected, the Rangers returned Tim Erixon to the Connecticut Whale immediately following last night’s loss to the Caps. Erixon was out of the lineup last night, but was kept with the team as an emergency replacement in the event that one of the six remaining defensemen got injured during the game. Thankfully, that was not the case, as all six survived the game.
Erixon did not receive a big chunk of ice time, but was definitely serviceable. His cap hit may prevent another call up this year, but that’s not to worry. He will benefit from big minutes in all situations in the AHL.
Erixon did not record a point in his second stint –four games– with the team, but he recorded two PIMs, four hits, and seven blocked shots.
The injuries to the Rangers blue line continue to mount. Jeff Woywitka left practice early today, and as a result the Rangers called up rookie defenseman Tim Erixon, per Chris Botta. The move hasn’t formally been announced yet, nor does the AHL Transaction Log have anything on it, but it is expected to be announced shortly.
One delay in the announcement could be because of salary cap restraints, which is believed to be the reason why Erixon wasn’t called up to replace Steve Eminger (and why Stu Bickel was). In any case, Erixon is with the Rangers, but unlikely to play unless Woywitka can’t go (bruised foot from blocking a shot). The Rangers blue line is a mess, and with no changes coming in the next week, this could be a long four games.
With the injuries mounting, the Rangers had to recall a defenseman just to have enough bodies on the blue line. That defenseman is Stu Bickel, who has been recalled by the Rangers. In 27 games with the CT Whale, Bickel has a goal, three assists, and 80 PIMs. He has been one of the more steady defensemen on the Whale’s blue line.
The decision to call up Bickel as opposed to Tim Erixon or Brendan Bell was made for two reasons. First, the Rangers have minimal cap space available, as Mike Rupp is no longer on LTIR. That essentially eliminated Erixon and his $1.75 million cap hit. Second, the Rangers need someone who is not subject to re-entry waivers, as the holiday roster freeze is tomorrow. That eliminated Bell, who needs re-entry waivers to be recalled.
Bickel was the last defenseman cut in camp, and has put together a solid season thus far for the Whale. He has certainly earned his shot, and as long as he plays well, will be with the team for the foreseeable future.
The press release is after the jump.
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Tim Erixon’s second call up was short lived, as the Rangers returned the rookie defenseman to the CT Whale of the AHL last night. Erixon was called up as a precaution for the Rangers road trip to St. Louis and Phoenix. Although many –including us– assumed he would be playing during this call up, John Tortorella specifically stated that Erixon was an emergency call up, and would be returned as soon as the road trip was over.
Much to his word, Erixon did not play and was returned even before the road trip ended. Erixon had recently returned from injury before his call up, and it is assumed the organization does not want to rush him.
It is curious that the Rangers didn’t intend to play him. If they needed an emergency guy, they have Brendan Bell in the AHL as well. But I guess the Rangers needed to be sure they would have the body in St. Louis (Bell needs waivers), and maybe Erixon needed another day or two before getting back on the ice. Regardless, still a curious decision to call him up.
What isn’t a curious decision is the decision not to force Erixon into the lineup. It’s easy to see why the organization might be tempted to do so: Marc Staal and Mike Sauer are out indefinitely with concussions, forcing them to play the Steve Eminger/Jeff Woywitka/Anton Stralman trio for extended minutes. While they have been up to the task initially, it’s assumed they won’t be able to keep this up. Combine that with Dan Girardi playing 75 minutes a game, and the Rangers blue line is in dire straits.
Erixon has a bright future, and it will be with this organization. There’s no need to stunt his growth by playing him before he’s ready. That is the right call, and it’s a call the Rangers have been making with almost all of their prospects in recent years.