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Rangers alternate captains still to be determined

Playing with six alternate captains last season was a rousing success for the Rangers when it came to the team dynamic, which flourished under the leadership of Jacob Trouba, Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin, Barclay Goodrow and Ryan Strome.

Now that Trouba has been named captain, however, the alternates need to be handed out accordingly.

Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant said management is still unsure, but plans to discuss the matter over the next week.

“There are different scenarios, different combinations we might do,” Gallant said Thursday before the Rangers lost 5-2 in their third preseason game, against the Devils at Madison Square Garden. “We’re going to decide here in the very near future, and before the season starts, we’ll probably make an announcement. We’re not going to do nothing right now.”

Since Trouba is donning the “C” and Ryan Strome is no longer a Ranger after he departed in free agency to the Ducks, the Blueshirts could name as many as four alternates or as few as two. If the Rangers were to go with two, the likely choices would be Kreider and Zibanejad, who are the two longest-tenured members of the club.

Chris Kreider, who was an alternate captain last season, moves the puck as Brendan Smith defends during the Rangers' 5-2 preseason loss. to the Devils.
Chris Kreider, who was an alternate captain last season, moves the puck as Brendan Smith defends during the Rangers’ 5-2 preseason loss. to the Devils.
Jason Szenes

It could be counter-productive to strip Panarin and Goodrow of their A’s, so the Rangers may want to go with four and make sure every player who wore a letter last year is still wearing one this season. Considering how much the team lauded the leadership group last season, the Rangers should do what they can to carry it into 2022-23.

After sitting on the bench for the final 6:05 of the Rangers’ second exhibition game Tuesday, an overtime loss to the Bruins, Alexis Lafreniere was back on the ice Thursday morning before the left winger competed against the Devils that night.

Lafreniere assured he was OK after taking a hard shot from teammate Hunter Skinner off the lower part of his right leg. He said it was just a bruise.

“He could’ve played the rest of the game,” Gallant said of Lafreniere, who scored a shorthanded goal Thursday night. “But obviously, it’s an exhibition game, we’re not going to put him out there with six minutes left. He was limping a little bit, but he’s fine. He skated today, and there’s no issues.”

The Rangers scored two shorthanded goals against the Devils, giving them a total of three through three exhibition games thus far. Kreider buried the first one of the night for his second score of the preseason, but the Devils netted four straight goals to take a 4-1 lead early in the third period. After Lafreniere made it a 4-2 game with a heads-up takeaway play, Erik Haula scored an empty-netter to cap the scoring.

After waiving forwards Turner Elson and C.J Smith, according to Cap Friendly, the Rangers also sent 19 players to Hartford to trim their roster down to 40 players. The names of note heading to the AHL include Matthew Robertson, Talyn Boyko, Dylan Garand and Bobby Trivigno.

Panarin said he believes he’ll compete in his first preseason game Friday night against the Devils.

Vincent Trocheck was feeling under the weather on Thursday, so the 29-year-old center sat out of practice and did not compete against the Devils.

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