After missing two months with a sports hernia, Wojtek Wolski is nearing a return to the Rangers lineup as soon as the end of the week. With that, the log-jam that is the Rangers’ roster becomes even more congested, with Sean Avery and Erik Christensen already spare forwards.
In short, something has to give. We know the top six players are safe, along with Brandon Dubinsky, Brian Boyle, Brandon Prust and Ruslan Fedotenko probably won’t be removed from the lineup. But players like Mike Rupp, John Mitchell, Avery, Christensen and Wolski are all on the bubble, one that is going to pop pretty soon.
According to Brooks, if Jeff Woywitka returns from injury tonight against the New York Islanders, the team would send Tim Erixon back to the AHL. If that happens, Wolski could return off IR without Glen Sather having to make another personnel move, such as trading or waiving Avery or Christensen.
Brooks said the team is unlikely to carry three spare forwards, which could lead to a move being made with either Avery or Christensen. Once Marc Staal returns from injury, which could be as early as the Winter Classic, the team would then have to make a move. It is unlikely they’d return Mitchell to the AHL, but they could send defenseman Stu Bickel back to Connecticut, though he has played well since his call-up last week. Brooks believes Rupp will be used as a rotational insert into the lineup.
Just like training camp, it will come down to Avery against Christensen to be the second spare forward on this team.
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