There are plenty of moving parts for the Rangers that explain this move (beyond Malone’s general lack of an impact).
For one thing, Derek Stepan and Dan Boyle seem to be getting healthier. Both practiced in no-contact jerseys on Sunday, and while Alain Vigneault might have been a bit ambitious in saying Stepan may return tomorrow, it’s a sign that he could be back soon. (And, hey, maybe he will indeed play against the St. Louis Blues on Monday.)
The Rangers also may decide to call up a defenseman from the AHL in light of injuries to Ryan McDonagh and Kevin Klein. TVA’s Renaud Lavoie points out that this allows the Rangers to keep Anthony Duclair at the NHL level, as well.
Beyond that, Malone hasn’t made much of an impact, with zero points and a -3 rating in five games played. While his possession stats have been fine in limited work, the 34-year-old hasn’t done a ton to distinguish himself with the Rangers.
Update: Could this be the end of the line for Malone?