10:33PM: Quotes via the Rangers:

Alain Vigneault on tonight’s game…“For some reason it took us a while to get our legs and that’s when the goaltender needs to come up big. That’s what Hank (Henrik Lundqvist) did, permitted us to stay in the game, find a way to come back and win the game.”

Henrik Lundqvist on tonight’s game…“We showed some patience, it’s not an easy game. It felt like they came out pretty good, but after that they were just waiting for something good to happen to them and we took over the game. But it was definitely a tough one to just get going. The energy wasn’t really there. It felt like they were trying to slow down the game a little bit, but again, the big thing here is to stay patient and don’t start taking chances because we are a good enough team to create our chances without taking any. We did a good job with that, and in the end we came out with some big plays and some big kills on the PK and that final goal was just a beauty.”

Benoit Pouliot on his line…“Zucc (Mats Zuccarello) and Brass (Derick Brassard) do a lot of work. They spread the play out pretty good and I just have to get somewhere and find a place. They are playing well. We are tic-tac-toeing in their zone, we should shoot a little bit more but things are going pretty well.”

9:33PM: First Period:

Second Period:

  • Drew Stafford (16) Tip-in - ASST: Mike Weber (7), Tyler Ennis (22)
  • Benoit Pouliot (15) Snap shot - ASST: Mats Zuccarello (40), Derick Brassard (27)
Third Period:
  • Rick Nash (26) Slapshot - ASST: Martin St. Louis (39), Derek Stepan (40)
3 Stars:
  • 3: Matt Hackett
  • 2: Benoit Pouliot
  • 1: Rick Nash
Stats:

Adam's Thoughts:

  • Ultimately it's a win, two points and another step closer to having home ice. That said, the Rangers were not great for most of this game. They were very good in the second period but not so much in the first and for most of the third. You like that they found a way to win but you expect more against the worst team in the league and when home ice is still at stake.
  • The PP did what they wanted to do, get shots, but didn't convert and was far from as good as it needs to be when the playoffs start.
  • It's hard to believe that this is the same Benoit Pouliot the Rangers had in the first two months in the season. He has been pretty good since December and has certainly worked really well with Zuccarello and Brassard. He takes some penalties that aren't great but at this point there is more good than bad in his game.
  • I think Cam Talbot will start on Saturday and maybe one or two other guys will sit, especially since the game now doesn't mean much. Maybe Justin Falk gets in, Dan Carcillo and Ryan Haggerty just to allow some scratched players to get a feel for things in case they are needed in the playoffs. I wouldn't play Ryan McDonagh and think he should go through some hard practices early next week and be ready for game one.

Team Notes

- The Rangers defeated the Buffalo Sabres, 2-1, tonight at Madison Square Garden in the final home game of the regular season. With the win, and Philadelphia’s regulation loss, the Rangers clinch second place in the Metropolitan Division, and home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

- The Blueshirts are now 45-31-5 overall (95 pts), including a 20-17-4 (44 pts) record at home this season. New York is now 10-3-1 in the last 14 games, including a 9-2-1 record in the last 12 contests.

- The Rangers have now won 45 games in a season seven times in franchise history, including twice in the last three seasons. The last time the Blueshirts posted at least 45 victories twice in a three-season span was from 1991-92 to 1993-94 (50 wins in 1991-92, 52 wins in 1993-94).

- The Rangers allowed two goals or fewer for the 48th time this season, and one goal or fewer for the 30th time. New York has posted a 38-10-0 record when allowing two or fewer goals this season, including a 28-2-0 record when allowing one or fewer goals. The Blueshirts have allowed two goals or fewer in 17 of their last 23 home games, giving up 43 goals over the span (1.87 goals against per game).

- New York won all three contests against the Sabres this season, outscoring Buffalo, 7-2, in the three games. The Rangers are 8-2-0 in their last 10 games against the Sabres, dating back to a 4-1 victory on Dec. 10, 2011. The Blueshirts swept the season series against Buffalo for the first time since the 2007-08 season.

- The Rangers outshot the Sabres, 18-1, in the second period. The one shot on goal against was the fewest the Blueshirts have allowed in one period this season. New York has outscored its opponents, 22-7, in the second period over the last 14 games, and has outshot opponents, 184-141, during the middle frame over the stretch. This season, the Rangers have outscored their opponents, 78-71, and have outshot opponents, 1,012-787.

- The Blueshirts’ penalty kill was 2-2 (4:00) in the game. New York hasn’t allowed a power play goal in each of the last six games (13 times shorthanded), and is 45-48 (93.8%) with seven shorthanded goals in the last 19 games.

Player Notes

- Henrik Lundqvist made 23 saves to improve to 33-24-5 on the season, including a 16-14-4 mark at home. The Rangers goaltender is 8-2-1 with a 1.89 GAA, a .935 SV%, and one shutout in his last 11 games, and has posted an 11-4-1 record with a 1.81 GAA, a .939 SV%, and two shutouts in his last 16 games. The Rangers’ all-time wins leader posted a 3-0-0 record, along with a 0.67 GAA, and a .975 SV% in three contests against the Sabres this season.

- Rick Nash registered the game-winning goal, and had four shots on goal in 16:42 of ice time. Nash’s goal was his team-leading ninth game-winning tally of the season, and was the second time he tallied the game-winner with less than two minutes remaining in regulation (Jan. 10 vs. Dallas, 18:02 of the third period). The Rangers forward leads the team in goals (26) and game-winning goals this season, and the Blueshirts are 16-4-1 when he records a goal.

- Benoit Pouliot tallied a goal, and recorded three shots on goal in 15:48 of ice time. The Rangers forward extended his point streak to seven games (three goals, four assists over the span), and he has nine points (three goals, six assists) in his last nine games. The seven-game point streak is Pouliot’s second of the season (Dec. 15 – Dec. 29), and ties his career-high. Pouliot’s 15 goals this season are one shy of his career-high, and his 36 points are a career-high.

- Mats Zuccarello registered the primary assist on Benoit Pouliot’s goal, and recorded three shots on goal in 18:08 of ice time. The Rangers forward extended his point streak to six games (four goals, five assists over the span), and he has 24 points (six goals, 18 assists) in his last 24 games. Zuccarello has tallied a point in 42 of his last 69 games, recording 59 points (19 goals, 40 assists) over the span. The assist was Zuccarello’s 40th of the season, marking the first time he has reached 40 assists in one season in his NHL career. The Blueshirts are 31-8-3 when Zuccarello records a point this season. Zuccarello is leads the team in points (59) and is tied for the team lead in assists this season.

- Derick Brassard recorded an assist on Benoit Pouliot’s goal, and won nine of 16 faceoffs (56%) in 16:31 of ice time. Brassard has tallied a point in seven of his last 12 games, registering nine points (five goals, four assists) over the span.

- Martin St. Louis tallied the primary assist on Rick Nash’s game-winning goal. The Rangers forward has recorded four assists in his last two games, and has registered 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in his last 13 games against the Sabres.

- Derek Stepan recorded an assist and won 14 of 20 faceoffs (70%) in 16:53 of ice time. The Rangers forward has 22 points (seven goals, 15 assists) in the last 22 games. Stepan’s assist was his 40th of the season, marking the first time he has reached that plateau in his career. Stepan is tied for the team lead in assists and ranks second in points (57) this season.

Tags: 2013-14, 2013-14 Postgame, Adam Rotter
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Jan 10, 2019; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) shoots during the first period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)
Jan 10, 2019; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) shoots during the first period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)

The acquisition of Jacob Trouba from the Winnipeg Jets represents the start of a new era on Broadway. No longer will the Blueshirts be hoping the ping pong balls fall in their direction during the draft lottery. Rather, they are planning to be battling for playoff positioning as the season winds down next spring.

Trouba will immediately become the top-pairing right-handed defenseman in the Rangers lineup.

"He is a big defenseman, he is 25 years old, can play against the best players, has offense, can kill penalties, and is in the prime of his career," Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton said as he raved about Trouba's skill set. "The opportunity for a player like that to become available doesn't happen all the time, we jumped on it."

 

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Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba reacts against the Los Angeles Kings in the second period at Staples Center. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)
Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba reacts against the Los Angeles Kings in the second period at Staples Center. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

The Rangers acquired Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba for defenseman Neal Pionk and the No. 20 pick in the NHL draft, the team announced Monday.

Trouba, 25, is a restricted free agent who recorded eight goals, 42 assists and 50 points for Winnipeg last season, scoring 18 points on power plays.

"He's in the prime of his career ... we jumped on it," Rangers GM Jeff Gorton said.

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Jan 10, 2019; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) shoots during the first period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)
Jan 10, 2019; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) shoots during the first period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)

The Rangers are aggressively pursuing a trade for Winnipeg defenseman Jacob Trouba, according to the New York Post, but they're not alone.

The rival Islanders and Devils are also in the mix for Trouba, per the Post. 

Trouba, a 25-year-old righty, is a restricted free agent who's been the subject of trade rumors for quite some time. With the Jets facing a cap issues, a Trouba trade might finally happen this offseason. The NHL Draft is next weekend and free agency starts on July 1, so it could happen sooner than later.

Tags: Jimmy Vesey, Kevin Hayes
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Dec 31, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers defensemen Kevin Shattenkirk (22) and Brendan Smith (42) watch the action during practice for the Winter Classic hockey game at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports (Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports)
Dec 31, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers defensemen Kevin Shattenkirk (22) and Brendan Smith (42) watch the action during practice for the Winter Classic hockey game at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports (Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports)

There is recent precedent for the Rangers buying out a player to save some cap space, a longtime warrior at that. They bought out Dan Girardi's contract two years ago, and they could very well go the buyout route for at least one player this summer when the buyout period opens on Saturday.

"In all honesty, we haven't ruled it out," Rangers GM Jeff Gorton told the New York Post. "It's on the table. And regardless of what we do with this buyout window, we'd certainly look at the second one, too, depending on what comes up over the next few weeks. A lot can happen."

As the Post reports, Brendan Smith and Kevin Shattenkirk are the two big buyout candidates for the Blueshirts. Are there others? Let's take a look at whom the Rangers might buy out as they prepare for an important summer.

Tags: Brendan Smith, Dan Girardi, Kevin Shattenkirk, Marc Staal
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It's every young athlete's dream to play for the team he or she grew up rooting for.

For Adam Fox, that dream has become reality.

The 21-year-old defenseman signed with the Rangers this offseason after three years at Harvard, and his new boss has big things in mind for him.

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Sep 30, 2017; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames defenseman T.J. Brodie (7) controls the puck against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)
Sep 30, 2017; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames defenseman T.J. Brodie (7) controls the puck against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)

The New York Rangers enter the NHL offseason in one of the best positions: They have money to spend, and are a prime free agent destination.

Some of the game's biggest names, like Erik Karlsson and Artemi Panarin, have already been linked to the Rangers before free agency begins on July 1. The team also scored a major victory in the draft lottery and will get to select a franchise player with the second overall pick.

While the Rangers are expected to be finalists for either Panarin or Karlsson this summer, that doesn't mean they should be done shopping. They have many prospects gunning for spots, but it is a little bit of proven veteran goal scoring that has a way of coming up clutch in the Stanley Cup playoffs-just look at Justin Williams and Patrick Maroon in this year's postseason.

Tags: Brendan Smith, Chris Kreider, Kevin Shattenkirk
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Jun 22, 2018; Dallas, TX, USA; A general view of the draft floor and stage before the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports  (Jerome Miron)
Jun 22, 2018; Dallas, TX, USA; A general view of the draft floor and stage before the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports (Jerome Miron)

It wouldn't have mattered which team had the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft. Jack Hughes just wants to be the first player taken.

"You always dream of being No. 1," Hughes told reporters Friday at the NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo. "You don't dream of being two, three or four when you're a young kid."

But the 18-year-old American center isn't about to ruffle any feathers. Asked whether he'd look better in red or blue, with the Devils and Rangers holding the top two picks in the NHL Draft, Hughes said, "I think I'd look good in either."

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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

It was a rough season for the NHL's Hudson River Rivalry.

The Devils took a huge step back after making the playoffs in 2017-18, their 72 points the third-fewest in the league, while the Rangers were only six points better as they embarked on their first full season of their rebuild.

But next month's NHL Draft represents an opportunity for both teams to add a potential game-changing prospect, as the Devils hold the No. 1 pick with the Rangers picking right after at No. 2. American center Jack Hughes and Finnish wing Kaapo Kakko should be the top-two picks in some order, with Hughes long pegged as the top prospect in this draft class. 

Tags: Nico Hischier
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Finnish prospect Kaapo Kakko (left) posing with teammate Santeri Virtanen after winning the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. (Kaapo Kakko on Instagram/@kaapokakko)
Finnish prospect Kaapo Kakko (left) posing with teammate Santeri Virtanen after winning the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. (Kaapo Kakko on Instagram/@kaapokakko)

With John Davidson set to make his first draft selection as president of the Rangers next month, Kaapo Kakko being available at No. 2 is becoming more and more tantalizing. 

The 18-year-old showed out for Team Finland, which captured the gold medal, at the IHF World Championship this past month. Finland bested Canada, 3-1, in the championship match Monday. 

Kaako poured in six goals, leading the team, and added an assist during the team's championship run, which capped an historic 13-month stretch for him. He became the sixth player ever to win an U-18 world championship, world junior championship and men's world championship. 

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 (Geoff Burke)
(Geoff Burke)

Although no New York-area teams made it to the Stanley Cup Final this year, the Empire State will still have a large impact on hockey's grandest stage. Twelve players from the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues have connections with the New York metro area in some way, so local fans still have plenty of reasons to tune in.

Boston Bruins

The Bruins have one of the largest collections of American-born hockey players of any team in the NHL. Not surprisingly, several of them have called New York home for at least part of their careers.

Tags: Boston Bruins, Jaroslav Halak, John Moore, Marcus Johansson, Paul Carey, Steven Kampfer, St. Louis Blues
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Feb 8, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Former New York Rangers captain Mark Messier waves to the crowd during the ceremony honoring the 1994 Stanley Cup Championship New York Rangers team at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Feb 8, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Former New York Rangers captain Mark Messier waves to the crowd during the ceremony honoring the 1994 Stanley Cup Championship New York Rangers team at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Twenty-five years ago today, Mark Messier immortalized himself in Rangers history. 

The Blueshirts captain scored a hat trick in Game 6 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals, backing up his bold prediction from the day before that the Rangers would beat the Devils and force a Game 7.

Messier's goals all came in the third period and included the game-tying and go-ahead goals in the 4-2 road victory at Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford, NJ. 

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John Davidson's years as a goaltender and broadcaster for the Rangers made him a natural fit for their president vacancy. But beyond his connections to the franchise, Davidson comes with the experience of rebuilding franchises in St. Louis and Columbus as the Rangers go through a remodeling of their own.

No situation is the same, but as Davidson embarks on the next chapter of his career, it's worth examining the moves he made at his previous two stops to help bring the Blues back to prominence and give the Blue Jackets their first taste of sustained competitiveness.

ST. LOUIS

Tags: Anthony DeAngelo, Filip Chytil, Henrik Lundqvist, Kevin Shattenkirk, Lias Andersson, Libor Hajek
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JD returns to NY 00:02:24
John Davidson talks about running the Rangers, trying to win the Stanley Cup, the status of Henrik Lundqvist, and the 2nd pick in the draft.

The Rangers welcomed back new president John Davidson on Wednesday with a press conference at the Hulu Theater at MSG. Here are five takeaways from the press conference:

A Dream Come True

It's obvious how much returning to New York means to Davidson, the former Rangers goaltender and broadcaster beloved by the fan base. 

"Dreams do come true," Davidson said.

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Apr 23, 2019; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (65) chases after the puck against the Vegas Golden Knights during the second period in game seven of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports (Stan Szeto)
Apr 23, 2019; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (65) chases after the puck against the Vegas Golden Knights during the second period in game seven of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports (Stan Szeto)

Here we go again with the Rangers and Erik Karlsson.

After being linked to the star defenseman when the Senators were looking to trade him last offseason, despite the fact they weren't actually in on him, the Rangers are considered "a favorite" and "probably the most likely destination" for Karlsson in free agency this summer, according to Sportsnet's Chris Johnston. 

Johnston addressed Karlsson's future during a Thursday radio interview with Sportsnet 960 The FAN in Calgary. Because the Rangers have cap space and the No. 2 pick in this year's NHL Draft, there's speculation that the Blueshirts could try to accelerate their rebuild.

Tags: Brendan Smith, Henrik Lundqvist, Kevin Shattenkirk
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Oct 21, 2018; New York, NY, USA; A general view of Madison Square Garden before a game between the New York Rangers and Calgary Flames. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports (Danny Wild)
Oct 21, 2018; New York, NY, USA; A general view of Madison Square Garden before a game between the New York Rangers and Calgary Flames. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports (Danny Wild)

The Rangers have signed Russian defenseman Yegor Rykov to a two-year entry-level contract, according to TVA Sports and The Athletic.

According to both reports, the contract has an out clause which would allow 22-year-old, who had been playing for HC Sochi, to return to the KHL if he wishes.

Rykov was acquired from the Devils at the 2018 trade deadline as part of a package the Rangers received in exchange for Michael Grabner. The Rangers used the second-round pick acquired in that trade to move up four spots to No. 22 in the 2018 NHL Draft to select K'Andre Miller. The Devils took Rykov in the fifth round of the 2016 draft.

Tags: Michael Grabner, Yegor Rykov
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Finnish prospect Kaapo Kakko (left) posing with teammate Santeri Virtanen after winning the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. (Kaapo Kakko on Instagram/@kaapokakko)
Finnish prospect Kaapo Kakko (left) posing with teammate Santeri Virtanen after winning the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. (Kaapo Kakko on Instagram/@kaapokakko)

Time will tell whether the Devils thinking highly enough of Kaapo Kakko to take him over long-presumed No. 1 NHL Draft pick Jack Hughes, but Kakko's emergence over the last year has at least made it a debate.

And Kakko thinks it can happen, especially as he dominates in the IIHF World Championship.

"This is a big thing for me for the draft," Kakko told NHL.com through a translator. "I think I can be the first (pick)."

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Oct 21, 2018; New York, NY, USA; A general view of Madison Square Garden before a game between the New York Rangers and Calgary Flames. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports (Danny Wild)
Oct 21, 2018; New York, NY, USA; A general view of Madison Square Garden before a game between the New York Rangers and Calgary Flames. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports (Danny Wild)

The New York Rangers are about to hire John Davidson as their new team president. 

The Columbus Blue Jackets announced on Friday that Davidson had submitted his resignation as president of hockey operations after being granted permission to speak to the Rangers about serving as their team president. 

"Personally, I want to thank J.D. for his friendship and the many contributions that he and his wife, Diana, have made to the Blue Jackets and throughout our community," Blue Jackets president Mike Priest said in a statement

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Finnish prospect Kaapo Kakko (left) posing with teammate Santeri Virtanen after winning the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. (Kaapo Kakko on Instagram/@kaapokakko)
Finnish prospect Kaapo Kakko (left) posing with teammate Santeri Virtanen after winning the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. (Kaapo Kakko on Instagram/@kaapokakko)

The NHL Draft gets more interesting by the day.

Because the more Kaapo Kakko plays in the IIHF World Championship, the more he impresses, adding intrigue to the Devils' decision on whom to select first overall.  

The Finnish wing, who will go to the Rangers at No. 2 if the Devils take American center Jack Hughes at No. 1, scored a beauty of a goal on Thursday for his sixth goal of the tournament.

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Oct 21, 2018; New York, NY, USA; A general view of Madison Square Garden before a game between the New York Rangers and Calgary Flames. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports (Danny Wild)
Oct 21, 2018; New York, NY, USA; A general view of Madison Square Garden before a game between the New York Rangers and Calgary Flames. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports (Danny Wild)

The Rangers announced on Thursday that Jim Schoenfeld, the team's senior vice president and assistant general manager, had stepped down after 17 years with the organization. This comes on the heels of Glen Sather walking away as team president.

"In nearly two decades with the Rangers, Jim made an impact on every level of the organization," Sather, who will transition to a senior advisor role once a new president is hired, said in a press release. "His tireless efforts and contributions were vital to the extended run of success we experienced during his tenure in New York."

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Finnish prospect Kaapo Kakko (left) posing with teammate Santeri Virtanen after winning the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. (Kaapo Kakko on Instagram/@kaapokakko)
Finnish prospect Kaapo Kakko (left) posing with teammate Santeri Virtanen after winning the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. (Kaapo Kakko on Instagram/@kaapokakko)

The tournament is only two days old, but Kaapo Kakko is already the talk of the IIHF World Championship.

The 18-year-old Finnish wing scored a hat trick Saturday in Finland's 4-2 win over Slovakia, giving him five goals after he scored two in the team's opener on Friday.

Kakko's first of the game was a long one-timer. He showed brilliant hands on his second goal before adding an empty-netter.

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Finnish prospect Kaapo Kakko (left) posing with teammate Santeri Virtanen after winning the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. (Kaapo Kakko on Instagram/@kaapokakko)
Finnish prospect Kaapo Kakko (left) posing with teammate Santeri Virtanen after winning the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. (Kaapo Kakko on Instagram/@kaapokakko)

It appears as if there could be a good ol' New York vs. New Jersey battle for Finnish hockey phenom Kaapo Kakko

Many expect the 18-year-old forward to go second overall to the Rangers, but perhaps it is too early to count out the Devils just yet.  

Kakko scored an impressive goal at the IIHF Worlds on Friday, grabbing the puck on a breakaway while a defender attempted to trip him from behind. Kakko escaped free of the defender's stick while also deking out the goalie to sneak the puck past him. 

When the clip of the goal surfaced on Twitter, the Rangers tweeted out the eyeball emoji while the Devils tweeted out a double eyes emoji along with a gif of the goal five minutes later. 

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 (Jerome Miron)
(Jerome Miron)

Now that the Stars have been eliminated from the playoffs, speculation is already running rampant about what the future holds for former Rangers fan favorite Mats Zuccarello, whom the Rangers traded to Dallas at this year's deadline.

The Blueshirts missed out on getting Dallas' 2019 first-round pick by a goal as the Stars lost to the Blues in double overtime of Game 7 Tuesday night. Instead, the Rangers will get the Stars' second-rounder. However, if Zuccarello re-signs with the Stars, the 2020 third-round pick New York got from Dallas will become a first-rounder.

Based on what Zuccarello had to say about the matter Thursday, it seems the Blueshirts may luck out with next year's NHL Draft.

Tags: Mats Zuccarello
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Apr 30, 2019; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Artemi Panarin (9) controls the puck against the Boston Bruins in the third period during game three of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports (Russell LaBounty)
Apr 30, 2019; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Artemi Panarin (9) controls the puck against the Boston Bruins in the third period during game three of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports (Russell LaBounty)

Now that the Columbus Blue Jackets have officially been eliminated from the playoffs, the Rangers can move forward with their offseason plans. 

The Rangers had narrowed their search for a new president to John Davidson, the current president of the Blue Jackets and former Rangers goalie and broadcaster. 

Davidson is believed to have a clause in his contract that would allow him to leave his position and the Rangers are expected to put in an official request soon, according to Larry Brooks of The Post. 

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Apr 25, 2019; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington (50) defends the goal against Dallas Stars center Mats Zuccarello (36) during the third period in game one of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Enterprise Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Curry)
Apr 25, 2019; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington (50) defends the goal against Dallas Stars center Mats Zuccarello (36) during the third period in game one of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Enterprise Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Curry)

A Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is a must-watch for hockey fans. But Tuesday night's Game 7 between Dallas and St. Louis in the Western Conference semifinals will have significant implications for the Rangers and one of their ex-players. 

A Stars win would not only send former fan favorite Mats Zuccarello to the next round, but it'd convert the second round pick the Rangers traded him for earlier this year into a first-rounder. 

Zuccarello suffered a broken arm during his first game with the Stars, but returned for the team's playoff run. In the first round, he was a pivotal part of Dallas' upset over Nashville, scoring three goals. 

Tags: Matz Zuccarello
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Finnish prospect Kaapo Kakko (left) posing with teammate Santeri Virtanen after winning the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. (Kaapo Kakko on Instagram/@kaapokakko)
Finnish prospect Kaapo Kakko (left) posing with teammate Santeri Virtanen after winning the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. (Kaapo Kakko on Instagram/@kaapokakko)

Those intrigued by the Rangers holding the second overall selection in this year's NHL Draft are already becoming familiar with the name Kaapo Kakko

The Finnish 18-year-old is widely expected to be drafted No. 2 overall -- behind Jack Hughes. And fans will have a chance to get a feel for his game throughout May. He'll be in action over the course of the next few weeks for Team Finland at the 2019 International Hockey Federation World Championships in Slovakia. 

Finland announced its full roster Monday. 

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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist sounded awfully unsure of his future with the Rangers before quickly clarifying his comments. 

The 37-year-old, who has two years remaining on his contract, told the Swedish newspaper Expressen, "I don't know if I'll stay with the Rangers my entire career." 

"I have two years left on my deal and it has always been my goal to stay with the Rangers, but once you get up there in age you never know," he said.

Tags: Henrik Lundqvist
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Vitali Kravtsov poses for a photo with team representatives after being selected as the No. 9 overall pick to the New York Rangers in the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center. (Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports)
Vitali Kravtsov poses for a photo with team representatives after being selected as the No. 9 overall pick to the New York Rangers in the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center. (Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports)

The Rangers signed two former draft picks, including 2018 first-round pick Vitali Kravtsov, to entry-level contracts.

Kravtsov, a 19-year-old forward, has played with the KHL's Traktor Chelyabinsk for the past three years, scoring eight goals and recording 13 assists in 50 games this past season.

New York drafted Kravtsov, a 6-foot-4, 183-pound right winger, ninth overall last year. He made the KHL All-Star Game last season and won Bronze with Team Russia at the U20 World Junior Championship earlier this year.

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Adam Fox could make his Broadway debut as soon as this fall.

What was a formality once the Rangers acquired his rights this week became official on Thursday as Fox signed his entry-level contract. Assuming the 21-year-old is as advertised during training camp, he could be on the Blueshirts' NHL roster on opening night.

Tags: Brady Skjei, Chris Kreider
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Adam Fox is headed home. 

The Jericho, New York native and former Harvard standout has been traded from the Hurricanes to the Rangers for a second round pick in this year's draft and a conditional third-rounder in 2020.  

Fox wrapped up his collegiate career last month with the Crimson, where he was a three-year starter and scored 116 points during his tenure. In 2018-19, he had nine goals and 39 assists. The 21-year-old also served as an alternate captain on the 2018 U.S. World Junior Championships team and was a member of the gold-medal winning group the year prior. 

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New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist makes a save against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period at Madison Square Garden. (Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist makes a save against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period at Madison Square Garden. (Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports)

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist was named a finalist for the 2019-19 King Clancy Memorial Trophy, the NHL announced on Tuesday. 

The King Clancy Memorial Trophy is awarded to a player who "best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and have made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community."

The winner of the award is chosen by a committee of senior NHL executives led by Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. 

Tags: Henrik Lundqvist
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Oct 21, 2018; New York, NY, USA; A general view of Madison Square Garden before a game between the New York Rangers and Calgary Flames. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports (Danny Wild)
Oct 21, 2018; New York, NY, USA; A general view of Madison Square Garden before a game between the New York Rangers and Calgary Flames. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports (Danny Wild)

The Rangers appear to be moving toward hiring John Davidson to replace Glen Sather as the team's president, according to Larry Brooks of The Post. 

Davidson, 66, is currently the president of the Columbus Blue Jackets, who just unexpectedly swept the top-seeded Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Rangers would have to wait until the Blue Jackets are out of the playoffs before they can hire Davidson, though.

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 (Jerome Miron)
(Jerome Miron)

Former Rangers coach Alain Vigneault is back in the NHL, and his old team is going to be seeing plenty of him.

Vigneault was named the new coach of the Flyers on Monday after sitting out the 2018-19 season. It was Philadelphia where Vigneault coached his final game with the Blueshirts last season, getting fired by Jeff Gorton just hours after the season finale when the team returned to New York.

"It is an honor to be selected as the next head coach of the Flyers," Vigneault said in a release. "The history they have established and the passionate fan base has made this a first-class franchise. I am excited to work with Chuck (Fletcher,) the talented group of players and prospects coming up through the system, in order to return Philadelphia to the top of the NHL landscape."

Tags: Philadelphia Flyers
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Finnish prospect Kaapo Kakko (left) posing with teammate Santeri Virtanen after winning the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. (Kaapo Kakko on Instagram/@kaapokakko)
Finnish prospect Kaapo Kakko (left) posing with teammate Santeri Virtanen after winning the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. (Kaapo Kakko on Instagram/@kaapokakko)

The probable top two picks in the 2019 NHL Draft have topped NHL Central Scouting's final rankings lists.

American center Jack Hughes is ranked No. 1 on Central Scouting's list of North American skaters, while Finnish wing Kaapo Kakko is ranked No. 1 on its list of International skaters

The Rangers drew the No. 2 pick in the June draft during last week's NHL Draft Lottery, while the Devils came away with the No. 1 pick. Hughes has long been considered the consensus No. 1 selection, but there's been recent talk of Kakko at least closing the gap on Hughes as far as who the top prospect is in this year's draft class after a strong season in the Finnish Liiga.

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Winter is here.

With Game of Thrones set to return Sunday for its eighth and final season, New York athletes gave their predictions and talked about theories for how the saga will end.

Click below...

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Finnish prospect Kaapo Kakko (left) posing with teammate Santeri Virtanen after winning the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. (Kaapo Kakko on Instagram/@kaapokakko)
Finnish prospect Kaapo Kakko (left) posing with teammate Santeri Virtanen after winning the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. (Kaapo Kakko on Instagram/@kaapokakko)

The ping pong balls went the Rangers' way Tuesday night, and by getting the No. 2 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, they not only end up with their highest ever selection in the draft, but they're guaranteed to get a game-changing prospect for their rebuild.

They're likely to end up with Finnish right wing Kaapo Kakko, assuming the Devils select American standout Jack Hughes at No. 1. Those two players are the top tier of this upcoming draft class, with the consensus being that Kakko has the ability to be a star in the NHL.

Get to know the player who might accelerate the Rangers' path toward contention:

Record-setting season

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The Rangers had their biggest win of 2019 on Tuesday night at the NHL Draft lottery. 

The Blueshirts, projected to have the sixth pick, jumped all the way to the second overall pick for the NHL Draft, which takes place on June 21 in Vancouver. 

The Rangers had a 23.3 percent chance of landing a top-three pick. They have never chosen within the top three picks under the current draft format. 

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Apr 3, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers center Lias Andersson (50) is congratulated after scoring a goal against the Ottawa Senators during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Apr 3, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers center Lias Andersson (50) is congratulated after scoring a goal against the Ottawa Senators during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Come Tuesday night, the Rangers will be hoping the ping pong balls are bouncing their way. 

After a rebuilding effort that saw them finish seventh in the Metropolitan Division, the Rangers enter Tuesday night's NHL Draft lottery with the sixth-best odds of winning the No. 1 overall pick (7.5 percent). Additionally, the team owns a 23.3 percent chance of gaining a top three pick, according to tankathon.com

The Rangers sunk their odds with a meaningless overtime victory Saturday in Pittsburgh. 

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 (Adam Hunger)
(Adam Hunger)

Ending the season on a high note is surely a morale boost for the organization and its players. 

But the Rangers' 4-3 overtime victory over Pittsburgh on Saturday actually knocked the Blueshirts from fifth to sixth in the NHL Draft lottery draw, when they could have moved up to fourth had they lost in regulation to the Penguins. 

Instead, the meaningless victory means the Rangers now own a 7.5 percent chance of drawing the top pick in the lottery; they have not selected first overall since 1965. 

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 (Adam Hunger)
(Adam Hunger)

The Rangers capped their season with an overtime win over the Penguins, 4-3, on the road. >> Box score


First Period:

  • 6:36 PIT Sidney Crosby: Assists: Jake Guentzel, Jared McCann
  • 12:48 NYR Brendan Smith
Tags: Pittsburgh Penguins
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New York Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev makes a save in front of Pittsburgh Penguins center Jared McCann and Rangers defenseman Tony DeAngelo during the first period at Madison Square Garden. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev makes a save in front of Pittsburgh Penguins center Jared McCann and Rangers defenseman Tony DeAngelo during the first period at Madison Square Garden. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

The Rangers are out of the playoffs and relegated to setting a foundation for next season and playing a spoiler role.

Friday, New York lost its third straight but nearly prevented the Columbus Blue Jackets from clinching a playoff spot. The Rangers scored with seven seconds left in regulation before losing 3-2 in a shootout.

It seems likely that veteran Henrik Lundqvist will start in goal for the Rangers after Alexandar Georgiev started against the Blue Jackets.

Tags: Pittsburgh Penguins
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 (Adam Hunger)
(Adam Hunger)

The Rangers couldn't give the Madison Square Garden faithful one more win at home this season, falling to the Blue Jacets, 3-2, in a shootout >> Box score


First Period:

N/A

Tags: Columbus Blue Jackets
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Dec 11, 2015; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Glen Sather speaks during his banner raising celebration at Rexall Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports (Perry Nelson)
Dec 11, 2015; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Glen Sather speaks during his banner raising celebration at Rexall Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports (Perry Nelson)

While the Blue Jackets are hoping Friday marks the beginning of a playoff run, the Rangers (31-36-13, 75 points) will be ending an era with their home finale.

The team announced Thursday that president Glen Sather will step down at the end of the season, though he will remain with the organization as a senior adviser.

Sather -- who built four Stanley Cup-winning teams as the Edmonton Oilers' general manager and head coach from 1977 through 1989 and then oversaw another Cup winner as general manager in 1990 -- was named the Rangers' president and general manager on July 1, 2000 and remained in both roles through the 2014-15 season. >> Read More

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Feb 26, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman speaks prior to a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Feb 26, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman speaks prior to a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

With Glen Sather stepping down as president of the Rangers on Thursday, the hunt is on for James Dolan & Co. to find his replacement. 

The search is reportedly on already, and one name that immediately comes to the forefront is Steve Yzerman. According to The Post's Larry Brooks, Yzerman is "amenable" to listening to the Rangers about the job. 

It is unknown if the Rangers have reached out to the Tampa Bay Lightning to talk to Yzerman yet. He is currently in the final year of his contract as an advisor to the owner. He served as the team's general manager before holding this role, and played a key role in building the Lightning into the Eastern Conference powerhouse they are today.

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Glen Sather was already a Hall of Famer before he arrived in New York as a 56-year-old on June 1, 2000, building and coaching the Oilers dynasty of the 1980s to four Stanley Cups and adding one more solely as an executive in 1989-90, two years after ownership forced the trade of Wayne Gretzky to Los Angeles.

The cigar-chomping Sather is an iconic figure in NHL history, an undisputed giant of the game. His Rangers legacy is complicated.

For there is an unmistakable void in Sather's 19-year run with the Blueshirts, the first 15 of which were spent as both president and general manager before he ceded the GM title to Jeff Gorton, with a 90-game stint as coach across the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons sprinkled in.

Though he orchestrated one of the most memorable runs in franchise history during which the Rangers went to the playoffs 11 out of 12 years, the 75-year-old will step down as president and into an advisory role, as the club announced Thursday, without a Stanley Cup.

Tags: Brady Skjei, Chris Kreider, Dan Girardi, Derek Stepan, Henrik Lundqvist, J.T. Miller, Jesper Fast, Marc Staal, Mats Zuccarello
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Rangers president Glen Sather is stepping down as the team's president, and will transition into a role as senior advisor to the owner and alternate governor, the team announced on Thursday. 

Sather, 75, has been team president since June 2000 and had also been New York's GM from 2000 to 2015 before he relinquished duties to Jeff Gorton.

Sather also coached the Rangers for 1 1/2 after he fired Bryan Trottier midway through the 2002-03 season.

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Apr 3, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Ottawa Senators left wing Brian Gibbons (17) is congratulated after scoring a goal as New York Rangers defenseman Neal Pionk (44) looks on during the third period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Apr 3, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Ottawa Senators left wing Brian Gibbons (17) is congratulated after scoring a goal as New York Rangers defenseman Neal Pionk (44) looks on during the third period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

The Rangers couldn't come back from the Senators' quick start in a 4-1 loss at Madison Square Garden Wednesday night. >> Box score


First period:

  • 12:14 OTT Bobby Ryan (Power Play); Assists: Chris Tierney, Brady Tkachuk
  • 13:29 OTT Zach Smith (Short Handed); Assists: Magnus Paajarvi
Tags: Ottawa Senators
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Nov 29, 2018; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson (41) makes a save on a shot from New York Rangers center center Lias Andersson (50) in the second period at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)
Nov 29, 2018; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson (41) makes a save on a shot from New York Rangers center center Lias Andersson (50) in the second period at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)

With little to play for in the final week of the season, both the New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators hope to finish strong.

Each club looks to bounce back from a loss Wednesday night when they meet in New York City. Both New York and Ottawa will miss the playoffs for a second consecutive season.

The Rangers (31-35-13) had won two in a row before falling 4-2 at New Jersey on Monday night. Rookies Brett Howden and Filip Chytil each scored, and Henrik Lundqvist made 37 saves in losing his fifth straight start while still one win shy of 450 for his career. >> Read More

Tags: Ottawa Senators
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New York Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei and New Jersey Devils right wing Drew Stafford battle for the puck during the first period at Prudential Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei and New Jersey Devils right wing Drew Stafford battle for the puck during the first period at Prudential Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

The Rangers allowed two late goals in the third period as they lost to the New Jersey Devils 4-2 on Monday at Prudential Center. >> Box score


First period:

  • 3:54 NJD Miles Wood; Assists: Connor Carrick, Mirco Mueller
  • 14:34 NJD Travis Zajac (power play); Assists: Damon Severson, Nico Hischier
  • 18:40 NYR Brett Howden; Assists: Connor Brickley, Neal Pionk
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Harvard defenseman Adam Fox, whose NHL rights are owned by Carolina, won't be signing an entry-level deal with the Hurricanes, according to The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun, and the Jericho, N.Y. native is being linked to the Rangers.

The Hurricanes will try to trade Fox, owner Tom Dundon told The News & Observer. Carolina acquired Fox's rights from Calgary in a trade at last year's NHL Draft which saw the Hurricanes bring in Fox, Dougie Hamilton and Michael Ferland for Noah Hanifin and Elias Lindholm

LeBrun had recently mentioned that the Rangers are believed to be among the teams interested in Fox, a third-round pick from the 2016 draft, and it wouldn't be a surprise if the 21-year-old righty were interested in joining the Blueshirts, who were his favorite team growing up. 

Tags: Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes
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