Three New York Rangers Players To Watch For In Final Preseason Games

Jimmy Vesey #26 of the New York Rangers skates against the Boston Bruins during the first period in a preseason game at the TD Garden on September 27, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

It is that time of year again for New York Rangers fans and hockey fans across the league. Preseason is underway and players are battling for those final spots on the roster. With four games remaining before the regular season, here are some players to keep an eye on.

New York Rangers Preseason Players To Keep an Eye On

Jimmy Vesey

Jimmy Vesey is a familiar name to Blueshirts fans as he had three solid years with the Rangers. He scored at least 16 goals in each of his three seasons in New York and finished his third year with a career-high 35 points in 2019. But in the offseason, Vesey was traded to the Buffalo Sabres and his game seemed to drop off a cliff. He has played for four different teams in three years since leaving and has been unable to score 10 goals in a season in that time.

But for Jimmy, a second stint in New York could be just what the doctor ordered. He has come over on a professional tryout and has made the most of it thus far. Through two games in the preseason, he has been very impressive. Gallant has used him across all facets of the game and Jimmy has seemed to excel in each. He had a power play goal in the first game and created a lot of opportunities at even strength. In his second game in as many days, he logged over 19 minutes of ice time and assisted on both Ranger goals after doing the hard work in the dirty areas. He also played on the penalty kill which went four-for-four on the night. Vesey is certainly an exciting story to keep an eye on as the preseason rolls on.

Brennan Othmann

Brennan Othmann exploded for the Flint Firebirds of the OHL last year for 97 points in 66 games including 50 goals. And despite playing on the bottom-six in his first game of the preseason, he made a significant impact. Othmann notched two assists in the 4-1 win over the New York Islanders in his first game at Madison Square Garden. The performance was good enough to earn him the honour of being named the first star of the game. But how likely is it that the 19-year-old can crack a very crowded lineup in New York?

The hard truth is that the top nine forwards are possibly set. The only one Othmann has a chance of beating out would be Vitali Kravtsov. The last time the Rangers tried to send him down to the AHL did not go well. New York has spent a lot of time and effort to repair that relationship and losing him for nothing at this point is too big of a risk. But his play has not inspired confidence although it has only been two games. Kravtsov hasn’t registered a single point yet. If Othmann continues to outplay Kravtsov for the remainder of the preseason, there is another option for Drury and the front office. 

They have already moved Nils Lundkvist for a conditional first-round pick and a conditional fourth. Another deal like this could put Othmann on the roster and bring in assets to help the team in the future. The 2023 draft is projected to be the deepest draft in NHL history. The potential of having three first-round picks could help the team out tremendously down the line.

Dryden Hunt

Dryden Hunt will likely be competing with Vesey for that 13th forward spot. He played well last year when called upon and the coaching staff knows what they are getting from him. Hunt has experience with the penalty kill and will sacrifice his body for the good of the team. That is the thing that could earn him the spot over Vesey, who is much more talented offensively. The Rangers lost Tyler Motte, Kevin Rooney, Andrew Copp, Ryan Strome, and Greg McKegg in the offseason. All five of them played on the PK last year. They still have guys that can do it, but they need to replace some of those bodies. 

The rest of the preseason will play a huge factor in what direction Gallant and company go, but these are certainly a few of the players to keep an eye on as the regular season approaches.

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