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Preseason Game Preview: The New Jersey Devils at the New York Rangers

The Devils head to New York to take on their rival in the first of two preseason matchups.

NHL: New Jersey Devils at New York Rangers
There may be a number one pick facing Kaapo Kakko, just not Jack Hughes.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

A new year of hockey, new games against the Rangers.

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils at the New York Rangers

The Time: 7:00 PM ET

The Broadcast: TV - MSG/MSG+

Roster Cuts: According to a team release, Mitchell Hoelscher, Graeme Clarke, Nikita Okhotyuk, and Michael Vukojevic have been sent to their OHL teams; Xavier Bernard to the QMJHL, Akira Schmid to the USHL, and Eamon McAdam to Binghamton.

Active Roster: Cory Schneider and Evan Cormier will be available to play goaltender. Connor Carrick, Will Butcher, Ty Smith, Mirco Mueller, Damon Severson, Sami Vatanen, and Jeremy Groleau (75) are the defensemen available. Nico Hischier, John Hayden (15), Kevin Rooney (16), Brandon Baddock (34), Michael McLeod, Nathan Bastian, Brett Seney, Miles Wood, Jesper Bratt, Nikita Popugaev (70), Mikhail Maltsev (73), Jesper Boqvist (90), and Nikita Gusev will be available to play at forward.

The lines will be decided by morning skate today. I will be posting anything that I see in the comments as it comes along in the morning.

Takeaway: I am pleasantly surprised that Nikita Popugaev is still with the team after debuting as only a fourth liner during the Prospect’s Challenge. While he will only be sent to Binghamton, I would be looking forward to seeing him tonight (unless he has the misfortune to be put on a line with Brandon Baddock and John Hayden, or something).

Disappointment: Given the Devils’ roster listed above, Jack Hughes will not be able to face Kaapo Kakko tonight. The Devils have another game against the Rangers this preseason (Friday), though it is unlikely that Kakko plays two games in a row.

Pairing Question: Sami Vatanen played with P.K. Subban on the left side during the game against the Bruins on Monday night - and some believe this to be a possible top pairing for the season. There are seven defensemen available for the game tonight, so it is not a guarantee Vatanen even plays tonight. However, since Carrick, Severson, and Vatanen are the only right-handed defensemen in the roster listing, it is probably more likely a left-handed shot sits out. Mirco Mueller will also be without his game-one pairing of Dakota Mermis, if he plays.

Inherent Line Differences from the Split-Squad: Nikita Gusev will be without Hughes and Wood. Jesper Boqvist and Jesper Bratt will be without Zajac. Mikhail Matlsev will be without Graeme Clarke and Ryan Schmeltzer. Nico Hischier will be without Coleman and Palmieri. Michael McLeod and Nathan Bastian will be without Brandon Gignac. Brandon Baddock will be without Ben Street and Blake Speers. The line configuration will have to take these differences into account.

Your Thoughts: What do you think about tonight’s game? Who are you most looking forward to watching tonight? How do you feel that you might have to wait until the regular season to see Hughes face Kakko? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.