Gerard Gallant suggests his Rangers top nine ahead of training camp

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 15: New York Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant and Artemi Panarin #10 celebrate a 4-3 overtime win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 7 of the first round of the playoffs of the 2022 Stanley Cup at Madison Square Garden on May 15, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

New York Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant gave his starting lines ahead of Blueshirts training camp. It was taken as all with the Rangers fan base, opinions are divided. With a few new faces and one not-quite-new face that we haven’t seen much of in New York due to a long-term injury, there are a lot of unknowns about the Rangers roster. as the season approaches.

Gallant said today he expects the roster to look something like this to start in the top nine.

Chris Kreider – Mika Zibanejad – Sammy Blais
Artemi Panarin – Vincent Trocheck – Vitali Kravtsov
Alexis Lafrenière – Filip Chytil – Kaapo Kakko

It’s important to remember that this is the first day of training camp. It would be more surprising if it were the line combinations throughout than if there were changes and fluctuations. It’s important to know who fits where best before the start of the season and it’s very likely that Rangers will see lots of different people in lots of different roles before opening night. It’s okay, it’s just not easy for the fans.

Keeping the kids line together is something I think some fans wanted to see for sentimental reasons, but the overwhelming hope was that Lafrenière would finally get his chance with the big boys instead of sitting on the third line with a minimal power play time. It was hoped Rangers would finally put the former first overall pick in a position to showcase his immense talents, but it looks like he’s starting where he left off last year.

So Rangers will likely see some new faces in different places, which could mean some difficulty for players trying to find their groove and settle in with new linemates. It also means that New York will play the role of a kid in a chemistry lab – mix it up and see what has an exciting reaction. Whether for better or for worse, it’s rare that we see a failed reaction and nothing changes from previous iterations.

This second line is the most interesting. Obviously Trocheck is interesting on its own, but Kravtsov playing with Panarin is a bit of a surprise considering Kravtsov has a lack of NHL experience. It has the potential to turn out really well, and it finally gives Kravtsov that top-six role he’s been desperately seeking since being drafted by Rangers. He also has the potential to see Kravtsov again in Russia. We will see.

I think the star for everyone is Sammy Blais on the front row. After a very brief stint in New York, Gallant decided that Kreider and Zibanejad were his best linemates. Blais is not someone you would expect to set the world on fire. He is indeed a good player, no doubt there, but he’s not exactly the most gifted with his goalscoring touch. Questions will be raised, but it’s only the first day of camp and we’re not even close to the final line-up.

Question for Blue Line Station readers: What do you think the Rangers lineup should be?

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