Ryan Malone

Rangers send Malone to minors, recall Fast


On Monday, the Rangers flipped forwards with AHL Hartford, sending down veteran winger Ryan Malone while recalling Jesper Fast.

The Blueshirts also sent down defenseman Conor Allen, which corresponds to the pending returns of Dan Boyle — who’s been out with a broken hand — and John Moore, who is coming off a suspension.

As for Malone, it’ll be interesting to see if he accepts his assignment. The 34-year-old hasn’t played in the American League since 2002-03 and earlier this season, another veteran Rangers forward — Matthew Lombardi — rejected his demotion to the AHL, opting to sign in Europe intead.

The fact the Rangers made moves today isn’t surprising. Following Sunday’s disappointing 3-1 loss to the Oilers, head coach Alain Vigneault hinted that changes would be coming.

“I think, after every game, you evaluate your personnel,” Vigneault said, per NorthJersey.com. “This weekend will be no different than any other game situation. We’re going to evaluate our team, see where we are. See if we can make some adjustments and go from there.”

As for the player coming in — Fast — he was up with the Rangers earlier this year, going scoreless over three games. The 22-year-old Swede has performed very well for Hartford, however, scoring one goal and nine points in 11 games.


Mats Zuccarello isn’t available to face Blues

On the same day that 34-year-old forward Ryan Malone cleared waivers, he will be in the lineup for the New York Rangers. That might not be ideal, but the Rangers have been forced to make an adjustment because Mats Zuccarello is out due to an undisclosed injury.

Zuccarello was likely hurt during the second period of Saturday’s game. He stayed in that contest, but he skipped the team’s optional skate on Sunday and wasn’t able to participate in Monday’s practice, per the Bergen Record. He was a game-time decision at that point, but he didn’t participate in the team’s pregame warmups.

With Zuccarello out of the lineup, Martin St. Louis is expected to play alongside Derick Brassard and Rick Nash. Malone is projected to skate on the fourth line with Tanner Glass and Chris Mueller, per the Record’s Andrew Gross.

The Rangers are playing against the St. Louis Blues tonight in their second and final contest of the season series. The Rangers earned a 3-2 win against them on Oct. 9.

Back to junior? Decisions looming for Lazar, Zadorov and others


While several junior-eligible NHLers have already learned their fates — Aaron Ekblad, Leon Draisaitl and Sam Reinhart among them — there remain a few who don’t know if they’ll play out the season in the bigs, or go back to riding the buses.

Here’s a look at a few of the ongoing situations around the league:

Curtis Lazar, Ottawa

Lazar’s played in eight games so far and will likely hit the magical No. 9 this week (Ottawa plays Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday). The 19-year-old, taken 17th overall at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, has looked solid in a limited role thus far, playing mostly in a checking/energy role while averaging around 13 minutes a night — but the Sens are holding cards tight with regards to their plans.

“[Lazar’s] been very consistent and he hasn’t done anything for us not to keep him, but we have to make the decision what’s based best not only for our team, but also for him,” head coach Paul MacLean said, per the Globe and Mail. “He’s still a young man and we have to make sure he’s in the proper environment to grown into the player that we all see him potentially being.”

If we had to guess, Lazar will stick. Sens GM Bryan Murray has been effusive in his praise of the kid and MacLean has used Lazar is some pretty important situations already this year, most notably on the penalty kill.

Nikita Zadorov, Buffalo

The Sabres have already sent one of their prospects, Reinhart, back to WHL Kootenay — a move that GM Tim Murray said would allow for the organization to start “thinking more” about what to do with Zadorov.

Zadorov, 19, has appeared in just two games for the Sabres, which included 12:42 TOI and a plus-1 rating in Sunday’s 3-2 shootout win over Detroit. But there are a couple of issues with the Russian rearguard: 1) it’s tough to say if he’s ready for full-time NHL work, and 2) it’s not clear what would happen if Buffalo were to send him back to his junior team, the OHL’s London Knights.

From the Buffalo News:

Zadorov’s agent, Rolland Hedges, would like his client to play at home in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, where St. Petersburg possesses his rights. The NHL, however, says Zadorov can play only for the Sabres or in the Canadian Hockey League. The defenseman and his KHL team may not sign off on a transfer to juniors.

“Is that part of the reason he’s here? Yes,” Murray said on his radio show on WGR-AM 550. “The only option if we don’t want him here is to send him to London. If we do that, does it become a long, drawn-out affair or is it a cut-and-dry thing? We’re not sure about that.

“If he decides not to go or the transfer agreement is not signed by the KHL team and him, I’m sure that the CHL will say, ‘He’s our property,’ and then there’s going to have to be some type of agreement come to between the KHL and the CHL. I’m sure that the CHL will involve the International Ice Hockey Federation in that.”

Murray has expressed frustration about Zadorov’s situation and Buffalo’s lack of control over it. So, the situation is as murky as ever.

Bo Horvat, Vancouver

Horvat (shoulder) recently rejoined the Canucks after a conditioning stint in AHL Utica, and should make his NHL debut in the not-too-distant future (Tom Sestito, who filled in for the suspended Alex Burrows at forward, was injured Sunday against Nashville.) The ninth overall pick in ’13 is projected to be with the Canucks for the year, but that plan could change if he doesn’t show well in his nine-game cameo.

The Canucks could continue to drag things out by keeping Horvat around, then loaning him to Team Canada for the World Juniors. There’s also this to consider, from TSN’s Bob McKenzie:

Some NHL clubs and player agents have duly noted that if a team keeps an underager past the 9/10 game threshold but sends him back to junior before 39/40, there may actually be a financial benefit to the club to do so.

If a player goes back to junior in a burned first year of an entry-level deal, it’s difficult to earn the bonuses available to him. It also makes it more difficult for a player with a lesser body of entry-level work (two years instead of three) to hit a home run in the player’s second NHL contract, much more likely to have to take a lower-value bridge deal than a long-term, big dollar pact.

Anthony Duclair, New York

Duclair, the preseason sensation that made the Rangers out of training camp, is in a little bit of a different situation than those listed above because he’s not tied to the nine-game junior rule. From NHL.com:

[Duclair] did not sign his first contract until Jan. 6, 2014; six days after the deadline of Dec. 31, 2013. As a result, he has just two years remaining on his entry-level contract after this season, and is eligible for restricted free agency in 2017 no matter if the Rangers keep him on their roster or return him to the Quebec Remparts in the QMJHL.

As such, the Rangers are already in the first year of Duclair’s entry-level contract and could essentially return him to Quebec whenever they see fit. That could happen once forward Derek Stepan (fractured fibula) comes off long-term injured reserve on Nov. 3.

Duclair was a healthy scratch for a couple of games in mid-October but has looked good as of late, with three points in his last five games. What’s more, the Rangers recently put veteran forward Ryan Malone on waivers.

Rangers think McDonagh will miss 3-4 weeks, no timetable yet for Klein

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The New York Rangers are hoping that Ryan McDonagh will only be out three-to-four weeks while fellow defenseman Kevin Klein’s experiencing too much swelling to allow for an estimated window of recovery.

Not surprisingly, the team does know that Klein will miss at least tomorrow’s game against the St. Louis Blues:

Also not shocking: head coach Alain Vigneault admitted that Derek Stepan won’t be ready to return on Monday.

On the bright side, Stepan and Dan Boyle were able to participate in practice on Sunday, though both wore no-contact jerseys. Boyle could take a while to get comfortable enough to play, though:

Ryan Malone was placed on waivers to make room for an AHL call-up, which is expected to happen in the early evening.

Rangers waive Malone, who might opt against reporting to AHL


The New York Rangers placed winger Ryan Malone on waivers today, according to various reporters including Bob McKenzie.

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?