The New York Rangers have recalled pugilist Tanner Glass to the NHL from the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL, the team announced on Wednesday.
The Rangers have suffered a couple of injuries to significant players over the last week, losing Derek Stepan for four-to-six weeks with a couple broken ribs and Kevin Klein for two-to-three weeks with a strained oblique.
Those injuries open the door for more roster additions, though the addition of Glass certainly won’t replace any of the skillsets or situation-specific play that they’ve lost in Stepan and Klein.
And he isn’t intended to.
Welcome to Brooklyn
Glass is recalled just hours before the Rangers’ first visit to the New York Islanders new home at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The recall is an effort to put a little extra muscle on the bench heading into a game that is expected to be contentious.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) December 2, 2015
Coach Alain Vigneualt has already said that Glass will play Wednesday night and that he’ll be drawing into the lineup in place of Emerson Etem who is “not feeling well.”
Yesterday Emerson didn’t practice, he wasn’t feeling well, and he didn’t turn the corner so we needed another forward and we thought that in today’s game Glass would be a good fit.
If it wasn’t clear enough there, Glass is being recalled for a rivalry game and little more. Blueshirts United notes that Vigneault continued in his comments, saying that management plans to meet after the game to discuss what to do with the roster going forward, knowing that adjustments will need to be made to cover the loss of Stepan and Klein.
You can shift players up, but shifting guys up and adding Glass at the bottom of the totem pole isn’t their only option and probably isn’t their best option, particularly when skill players like Adam Tambellini, Jayson Megna or even Ryan Bourque may provide a higher upside. (Though, at 5-foot-9, Bourque may have trouble sliding into the depth lines with their style of play. Megna and Tambellini both have some size, and Tambellini in particular may be able to compliment the team’s roster depth, if given his NHL debut.)
Back to Wednesday
With the recall of Glass and no recall on defense, meaning that Dylan McIlrath will be in the lineup, it looks like the Rangers may be aiming to make up for their defensive deficiencies — they’re allowing 54.5 shot attempts against per 60 minutes of even strength play, 23rd worst in the league — in their game with pugilism, if the game calls for it.
Glass, one of the namesakes of Own the Puck’s “Tanner Glass to Sidney Crosby” Scale, has played two games in the NHL this season, averaging 11:39 of ice time and recording no points. Last season Glass played 66 games, over which he put up one goal and six points.
He also finished last season with a -7.4% score-adjusted CF%Rel, the second-best mark of his career and a pretty terrible mark still.
Against a skilled team like the Islanders, whose equivalent of a checking line — Matt Martin (four points), Casey Cizikas (eight points), Cal Clutterbuck (eight points) — has the ability to produce offensively as well, the recall of Glass may be short-sighted, even if it’s intentionally short-sighted and the illness of Emerson Etem left their hands tied.
The recall of Glass is a bad signifier of how the Rangers think they can continue their success in the standings, while attempting to fix their problematic underlying numbers.
It’s turning to a known quantity, something familiar, even when that known quantity is known to be something you’re not exactly looking for. You’d take something better if you could get it. Recalling Glass is taking the cafeteria hamburger because you know what it tastes like, even though you know there’s a greasy spoon around the corner. That greasy spoon might be a dive, but it also might have a damn good burger.
With where you are in the standings, wouldn’t you rather see if you’ve got a damn good burger in Hartford? Wouldn’t you rather be looking for a way to take the pressure off Henrik Lundqvist, instead of going to something that probably won’t help? It’s a move that says, we’ll deal with the problem tomorrow, we know that Lundqvist will bail us out again.
Below you can see where Glass ranks on the Glass-to-Crosby Scale.