Preseason Game Preview: Devils vs Rangers Round Two

Twitter @ChrisMottHockey

Ty Smith and Sami Vatanen talking on ice

Ty Smith and Sami Vatanen talking on ice.
– Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The New Jersey Devils will face the New York Rangers once again for another preseason tune-up. However, unlike last time, the game will be played at Madison Square Garden. It will also not involve a split-squad scenario that occurred last week. Tonight represents one of the last opportunities for fringe players looking to make their mark and stay with the big club.

The game also is another opportunity for other established players to continue polishing their game for the regular season while presenting a chance to build chemistry with teammates. The Devils will look to continue taking another positive step forward in assessing young talent and building a competitive roster this season. They have already announced Miles Wood will not be appearing in the game after signing a four-year contract to stay in New Jersey.

 

Who to Watch

Michael McLeod: The former first-round pick is competing for a roster spot and will have a chance to prove he belongs against the Devils’ arch rival. McLeod did not have the strongest game against the Rangers the first time around this preseason. But he seems to have picked up his play throughout other areas of the preseason. Maybe it was just jitters the first time around. Nonetheless, it is an opportunity to try and show why he should stay with the club this season.

 

John Quenneville: Quenneville’s window to make a step up to the NHL roster is closing. And his play this preseason has shown that sense of urgency. He was very productive the first time around against the Rangers this preseason, where he had a fight and scored a goal. His offensive presence has been showing a little, as he had four shots on goal against the Islanders. It will be interesting to see if Quenneville can keep it up and make the roster as a first-round pick from the Lou Lamoriello era.

 

Ty Smith: The first-round pick has looked impressive for his age. He seems to give the coaches faith that he could actually make the roster this season. This shows not only how much faith and trust the organization has in Smith, but just how talented he is. Most defenseman, even those taken in the first round, typically take a few seasons to groom and develop properly to be successful at the pro level. The fact that the talk of him potentially making the roster this season shows how impressive he is.

 

Tonight’s Line Combinations (via. Chris Ryan of NJ Advance Media)

 

Andy Greene/Egor Yakovlev

Ty Smith/Eric Gryba

Mirco Mueller OR Jeremy Groleau/Sami Vatanen

 

Eddie Lack

Mackenzie Blackwood

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