The New York Rangers line-up for the first pre-season game against the Islanders includes Kabu Kaku in the lead


New York Rangers squad for the first time pre-season The game against the New York Islanders on Monday night will look different from the initial preparation for the start of training camp.

Coach Gerard Gallant indicated that the players in Group A for Sunday’s first training session are likely to be used in tomorrow’s competition.

“I think the majority of the first training set will play,” Galant said. “Some players don’t have to make the team and some other players play better.”

Here is a breakdown of the lines and d-pairs for each of the multiple reports:

  • Krider – Zebanijad – Kaku
  • Vessy – Shetel – Kravtsov
  • Trevigno – Carpenter – Reeves
  • Sikora – Rydal – Othman
  • Miller – Tropa
  • Jones – Schneider
  • Hajik – Welensky
  • Chesterkin
  • Garand

Puck is scheduled to drop at 7 p.m. ET and the game will be broadcast on MSG Network.

The New York Rangers prepare for their first pre-season game

Rangers vs islanders
17 March 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers Center Mika Zipanjad (93) meshes with New York Islanders Center Brooke Nelson (29) during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers opened camp with several days of brawls that included Sammy Bliss on the first line with Mika Zibanijad and Chris Kreider. However, it looks like Kaapo Kakko will take the first call on the right wing tomorrow night.

“We made the squad yesterday,” Galant revealed. “The first three days’ squad (fights) means nothing and tomorrow’s squad means nothing. They are just guys playing with different people.”

Kaku, 21, scored 18 points in 43 games last season after dealing with three different spells on the injured list. Rangers might want to know if the 2019 second overall pick can hit 107 mph in a game.

“I started with the gym and did more skiing after that,” Kakko said at camp. “I think my shot is getting a little better.”

Meanwhile, the rest of the lineup is a complete mix and match that seems to have come out of nowhere.

One noteworthy move is Jimmy Vessy in the second line with Philip Chettle and Vitaly Kravtsov. The former camp guard at the PTO is looking to earn a record NHL contract.

“I know what kind of player [Vesey] He is,” Gallant explained. “We’ll see where he fits in at the end of camp. He’s a good skater, a kill guy, and he looks good there.”

The third and fourth lanes are very interesting as Bobby Trevigno skates with what I think will be 2/3 of the checking streak that includes Ryan Carpenter and Ryan Reeves.

Three players are not expected to leave the camp: Adam Sikora, Brennan Othman and Gustav Rydal. It will be fun to watch Sikora and Usman as they represent the future of Rangers. On the other hand, Rydahl is a 27-year-old free agent who is looking to give his best to be considered as an early candidate for a call-up.

Zach Jones or Lepor Hajk on the third husband?

Last season’s first duo defense will feature Candre Miller and new captain Jacob Tropa. Of course, all eyes will be on the left side of Braden Schneider, who will anchor the third pair in 2022-23.

In practice, Zac Jones and Libor Hajek have both taken turns skating for Schneider, so the expectation is to see the same against the islanders.

Jones, 21, scored assists in 12 games for Rangers last season. He also led every Hartford defender Wolfpack with 35 points in 52 games. During his short career in the National Hockey League, he played 22 games and scored 6 assists.

Hajik, 24, played in just 17 games last season and scored just one pass with a rating of -10. In his 94 football career, with Rangers, he scored 3 goals and 11 points while his average was 15:10 per night.

Signing free agent Andy Welensky will settle the defense. He is expected to play for the Hartford Wolfpack this season.

In goal, Igor Shesterkin is likely to get the first half while Dylan Garand, the much-loved goalkeeper, will play in the second.

The 20-year-old Garand set an astonishing record of 34-9 and 4 closings last season for the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers. His GAA was 2.16 and his .925 SV% was good for second place in the WHL. The young playmaker followed up with an undefeated gold-medal performance for Canada at the Junior World Championships in August.

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