According to Andrew Gross via twitter the New York Rangers will start tonight’s preseason opener in Albany with the following combinations:
NYR lines: Hagelin-Christensen-Thomas, Dubinsky-Anisimov-Weise, Bourque-McColgan-Deveaux, Avery-Mitchell-Miller.
#NYR D-pairs: Del Zotto-Eminger, Erixon-McIlrath, Girardi-Bell. Lundqvist figures to start.
Interesting to see how Tortorella has put Hagelin and Thomas, players looking to steal roster spots from veterans with Erik Christensen, who is trying to save his job, as a way to see who stands out. Avery still being with John Mitchell and J.T. Miller does not bode well for his future with the team, but Mitchell has played well in camp so maybe it can help Avery.
The defense pairings are even more interesting. Tortorella putting Bell with Girardi is giving him an excellent opportunity to get into the battle for the final defense pairing, while Del Zotto gets a chance to play with Eminger who has played with before and could be a final pair preview for Tortorella. Somewhat surprising to see Erixon not get a shot with an NHL player, but he is comfortable with McIlrath, so that could be beneficial to him in a different way. Battles going on all over the roster are the most fun thing about preseason.