Alain Vigneault distilled the exhibition season to one word:
“Exhibition, for coaches and management, it’s more about player evaluation and trying to put our style of play on the ice,” the Rangers head coachsaid after New York began the preseason portion of its2015-16 campaign with a 6-3 win over the Devils Monday night at the Garden.”Exhibition, the veteran guys are trying to get their rhythm, and the other guys are trying to impress us and show us they belong here.”
Like, say, Oscar Lindberg.
The 23-year old center from Skelleftea, Sweden, is essentially in his final training camp with the Rangers. Signed to a two-year, $1.3 million over the summer, Lindberg would need to clear waivers in order to report to AHL Hartford, which seems unlikely as there are NHL teams that could use a young, low-cost forward.Especially one that has been able to produce solid numbers at the AHL level.
In 150 games with the Wolfpack spanning the last two season, Lindberg has recorded 100 points [46 goals and 54 assists]. And according to Vigneault, the coaching staff at Hartford was impressed with the center’s play in the second half of last season.
“In talking with [AHL Hartford coach] Ken [Gernander] and his staff, in the second half of their season last year, he was a dominant two-way centerman that played with bite,” he said. “You can see he has a real good skill set, real good skater. He’s one of the guys that’s going to get a real good look at our level.
“He’s been able to be a very effective player in the American League. Now can he come to the NHL and be an effective player? I would envision him being a penalty killer than a power play guy. He’s probably going to get a look at more than one position, center and [the wing].”
Against the Devils, Lindberg scored the fifth of the Rangers’ six goals. Lindberg finished with a goal on two shots and blocked a shot in 14:55 of ice time.
Afterward, Vigneault was unequivocal about what Lindberg must do in order to break camp with the big club.
“We’re a four-line team, [and in a] four-line league, there is no way to have success without getting [contributions] from four lines,” Vigneault said. “Sometimes that contribution can be more defensive style, but I think all players on all lines have to be able to spend some time in the offensive zone. Chip in offensively.
“The answer is he needs to chip in offensively.”
Prior to Monday night’s 3-2 preseason win over the Flyers at Barclays Center, the arena’s Chief Executive Officer, Brett Yormark met with reporters who cover the Islanders.
As part of the meet-and-greet, Yormark outlined the present and what he hopes the future will hold for the franchise.
And what is it that he envisions?
A franchise that maintains its historical fanbase while creating another in Brooklyn.
“We need to be sensitized and we’re more so than ever to the faithful; those that have been there from Day One and have shown so much support over the years,” Yormark said. “But at the same time for us to be successful, for this move into Brooklyn to be viable, we’ve got to expand the fanbase and complement the fanbase that currently exists.”