In this latest edition of New York Rangers News & Rumors, Rangers star forwards Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad have returned to the ice after both suffering injuries. Meanwhile, Rangers forward Filip Chytil remains sidelined with his upper-body injury. Let’s discuss all of this and more in today’s (Sep. 28) Rangers News & Rumors column.
Panarin & Zibanejad Return to the Ice
Earlier this week, Panarin and Zibanejad, unfortunately, suffered day-to-day injuries. When noting that they are the Rangers’ top two forwards, there was naturally some concern amongst Ranger fans about the possibility of these injuries lingering longer than expected. However, we now have confirmation that Panarin and Zibanejad are now officially good to go.
Both Panarin and Zibanejad returned to practice earlier today. Furthermore, Zibanejad will be in for tonight’s preseason contest against the New Jersey Devils, as announced by the club. He is expected to center the club’s first line with Chris Kreider and Alexis Lafrenière on his wings, as reported by Vince Mercogliano.
Panarin, 31, appeared in 82 games last season, posting 29 goals and 92 points. Zibanejad, on the other hand, had 39 goals and 91 points in 82 games. Needless to say, having both players healthy again, even if it’s just the preseason, is a massive win for the Rangers.
Chytil Still Sidelined With Upper-Body Injury
Although the Rangers received good news on the Panarin and Zibanejad injury front, things are still not perfect with Chytil. Chytil is still sidelined with his day-to-day upper-body injury and has yet to participate in practice since. This is certainly not ideal news, as Chytil is one of the club’s key forwards heading into the new season.
Chytil, 24, had a strong breakout season for the Rangers in 2022-23, and the truth can be seen in his stats. In 74 games played, he had 22 goals, 23 assists, and 45 points – all new career highs. This was quite impressive from the 2017 first-round pick but especially when remembering that he primarily played third-line minutes. Some think he can even challenge Vincent Trocheck for the second-line center role, but that will not happen until he is completely healthy and good to go.
Latest News & Highlights
Although it is less than ideal that Chytil remains sidelined, the plus side is that the Rangers still have two weeks left until their first regular-season game against the Buffalo Sabres. Thus, given his day-to-day status, Chytil should be back long before then.
Gerard Gallant ‘Eager’ for Next NHL Gig
After their disappointing first-round loss to the Devils last postseason, the Rangers and Gerard Gallant mutually decided to part ways this offseason. Since then, the longtime NHL coach has yet to land a new job. However, while speaking with NHL insider Pierre LeBrun, Gallant that he is “eager” to be an NHL head coach again, and he will be looking for any potential vacancies that occur during the season (from ‘LeBrun rumblings: NHL coaches on expiring contracts, Gerard Gallant ‘eager’ to return and more,’ The Athletic, 9/26/2023).
Gallant, 60, will certainly receive consideration if any clubs move on from their head coaches during the season. After all, he has plenty of experience behind the bench and has had a good amount of success in the process. In 11 NHL seasons as a head coach split between the Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers, Vegas Golden Knights, and Rangers, he has a 369-262-4-70 record. We will need to wait and see if he gets the chance to improve upon this career record with another NHL team at some point this campaign.