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Rangers waive Dryden Hunt in move that helps cap crunch

The Rangers put winger Dryden Hunt on waivers Wednesday, clearing a roster spot and — more importantly — salary-cap space ahead of the March 3 trade deadline.

Coming into the day, the Rangers were projected to have a hair over $800,000 of space at the deadline, per CapFriendly. With Hunt’s $762,500 off the books, general manager Chris Drury has just freed up over $3 million more, as the space will compound throughout the season. Given that more roster moves will occur between now and March 3, it remains to be seen exactly what room the Rangers will have when the time comes, but the difference with and without Hunt is substantial.

The backdrop of the Rangers’ season is the possibility of a deal for Patrick Kane ahead of early March. The more pennies Drury can save between now and then, the easier it becomes to fit Kane’s $10.5 million cap hit without being forced to make salary-dumping moves.

Rangers forward Dryden Hunt, seen here against the Ducks on Oct. 17, 2022, was placed on waivers on Wednesday.
Rangers forward Dryden Hunt, seen here against the Ducks on Oct. 17, 2022, was placed on waivers on Wednesday.
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As for the fourth line, the move is a show of faith in Jimmy Vesey, who made the team off a professional tryout contract. Based on Wednesday’s practice, the Rangers will likely go with Vesey, Ryan Carpenter and Ryan Reaves against the Sharks on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.

After a yearlong hiatus from coaching in the NHL, David Quinn is back with the Sharks. And just six games into the new gig, he’s coming back to Madison Square Garden.

Quinn, who had a 96-87-25 record over three seasons on Broadway, helped the Rangers along during their rebuilding years. The only year in which he technically made the playoffs was 2020, when the Blueshirts were swept by Carolina in the bubble qualifying round.

“He’s very detail-oriented,” Mika Zibanejad said. “I think for me at least, what I noticed is the defensive side, to be dialed in when it comes to that and be aware of the little things. I think offensively, he kinda let us do our thing and trust that we can make the right play and trust our judgement in terms of the play with the puck from [the red line] on down and to the offensive zone.”

Carpenter, who suffered a cut to the ear and back of his neck with a skate blade in Winnipeg on Saturday, should be good to go against San Jose. The center said he received four stitches to his ear and 11 to the neck and head area, and still had a bandage on his left ear after Wednesday’s practice.

“I think I needed to sit out [Monday’s game],” Carpenter said. “I think it was still a pretty big cut and there’s some swelling. I’ve gotten a couple practices in and ready to play.”

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