Just announced. As expected, defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti was assigned to Hartford. While he has improved since his draft year, he still appeared a half-step behind much of the preseason games.
Here is the official release:
RANGERS ASSIGN BOBBY SANGUINETTI TO HARTFORD
23 Active Players Remain With The Club
New York, September 24, 2009 – New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has assigned defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL). The Rangers now have 23 players remaining in training camp, including two goaltenders, seven defensemen and 14 forwards. The Blueshirts’ return to action tonight when they will host the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), in the final home game of their 2009-10 pre-season schedule.
UPDATE: As per Steve Zipay of Newsday, the line combinations at practice this morning were the following:
A few curious points with these lines. Obviously with Sanguinetti being sent down the Rangers know their top 7 defensemen. It appears, at face value, that Del Zotto will be given an opportunity for at least a few NHL games before being sent back to the OHL. Still not sure if he will stick, but it's worth a look.
The defensive pairings also may need some tweaking. If Semenov is your seventh defenseman, then it would make sense to have an experienced defender with an inexperienced one. Personally, I would like to see Gilroy with Staal.
If Semenov plays in the sixth spot, then Del Zotto sits and the Rangers stick with their top four pairings like last season.
Could Brian Boyle be sent to Hartford? Looking into his contract implications, but with all of the praise that Vinny Prospal has received as center, perhaps the Rangers are toying with the idea of sticking with today's lines for a while.
A Higgins - Prospal - Gaborik line looks good on paper. The line of Lisin - Dubinsky - Callahan could produce a lot of speed and punch. And Grachev - Drury - Kotalik has a little bit of size, a little bit of goal production, and a little bit of defensive play. The fourth line of Voros - Anisimov - Brashear isn't overly appealing only because it may be wasting Anisimov's talents.
Should be interesting!
Another Update: It appears that the practice lines will stick for tonight's game. Also, a point to debate during the game: With these current lines, the Rangers have a lot of firepower in scoring. One player missing? Sean Avery.
When Avery is ready to jump back in, where would he fit amongst this hodge-podge? Likely in Grachev's place alongside Drury and Kotalik, but is a large scoring winger in Grachev a better fit than Avery?
The Rangers need Avery's grit, but with the abilities that players like Grachev and Anisimov have shown, where does he fit in the top three lines? I don't believe he would be enough of a presence in the game by being placed on the fourth line.
On a side note, amidst all of the Phoenix Coyotes circus, Wayne Gretzky has stepped down as Head Coach. Dave Tippet looks to be named shortly as his successor.
I could see "The Great One" returning to the Rangers in a management capacity, especially since buddy Mark Messier is now in the fold.