The New York Rangers may not be seeing Patrick Kane in their uniform for at least another day, but they know where they are going to put him.
And even if Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant can chide that “any fool can put those lines up” the team has offered clarity into what their lines could look like for the rest of the 2022-23 NHL season. With Kane not playing in Philadelphia, the Blueshirt’s faithful will have to wait another day for the emergence of their star, but there’s still plenty to be excited about.
Let’s look at each line moving forward.
1st Line: Chris Kreider – Mika Zibanejad – Vladimir Tarasenko
Gone are the days of needing Jimmy Vesey or Kaapo Kakko to play on the top line. With Kane’s acquisition, Tarasenko is now free to play on the top line with New York’s skilled offensive pairing of Krieder and Zibanejad. The latter was seen on the ice without limitations Wednesday morning so all signs point to this group being completely healthy and ready for the stretch run of the season.
2nd Line: Artemi Panarin – Vincent Troceck – Patrick Kane
It seems crazy to think about that five months ago, Vincent Trocheck was the team’s top free-agent signing and would be a staple of the team’s offense. Trocheck has certainly lived up to his contract as of late, but the addition of Kane is expected to take this trio to another level. Panarin is back with an old teammate, and one of the most dominant lines for the offense over the last few weeks gets even better.
3rd Line: Alexis Lafreniere – Filip Chytil – Kaapo Kakko
Talking about crazy, the Rangers’ most dangerous line over the last few months is their third. The Kids could be seen as taking a step back as the team gears for a championship run, but they are as important as ever to New York’s chances. Lafreniere, Chytil, and Kakko have been consistent together all season and will need to continue to be in the month of March which sees plenty of divisional opponents on their schedule.
4th Line: Tyle Motte – Barclay Goodrow – Jimmy Vesey
As fourth lines go, this might be the most complete unit the Rangers have had in quite a few years. Jimmy Vesey has been exceptional all season for the Rangers and Tyler Motte adds a level of toughness to the team that the franchise will need come playoff time. The ability of Goodrow to play anywhere also is a huge help for the offense. Not bad to have this line as your fourth.
Ryan Lindgren – Adam Fox
Jacob Trouba – K’Andre Miller
Nico Mikkola – Braden Schneider
The focal point here is these are expected to be the defensive pairings when everyone is healthy. Currently, that isn’t the case. With Ryan Lindgren still day-to-day, New York will be skating with five defensemen for the foreseeable future and there isn’t much help coming on the horizon. That also includes the suspension of K’Andre Miller Tuesday afternoon. Still, Trouba, Fox, Schneider, and Mikkola have all performed admirably amid the tough conditions of a minimal roster. When healthy though, this is a very good group.