Artemi Panarin, Adam Fox and Igor Shesterkin represented the New York Rangers at the 2023 NHL All-Star Game in Sunrise, Florida, on Feb. 3 and 4. Zac Jones participated in the American Hockey League (AHL) All-Star Game on Monday, Feb. 6. Will Cuylle was called up for the first time in his career and more.
Panarin, Fox & Shesterkin Rep Rangers at the All-Star Game
Panarin, Fox and Shesterkin represented the Rangers for the Metropolitan Division squad this past weekend. The Atlantic Division won the three-on-three tournament, and Florida Panthers star Matthew Tkachuk won MVP on his home ice.
The Rangers’ trio saw their team lose 10-6 to their conference rival in the first game. They also participated in the revamped skills competition on Friday, with some Florida-themed events, such as a golf/hockey mash-up and a “dunk” competition involving surfboards.
Cuylle Called Up, Sent Down, Called Back Up
Cuylle was called up for his NHL debut on Jan. 25 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He’s a Toronto native, so it made the moment extra special for the Rangers’ 2020 second-round pick. He played in two games before being sent back down to the Hartford Wolf Pack prior to the All-Star Break. The former Windsor Spitfires standout didn’t get on the scoreboard, but he scored some points with his teammates by getting into a spirited tilt with Keegan Kolesar of the Vegas Golden Knights, giving the team a spark.
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Cuylle was called back up for the Rangers’ Feb. 5 practice and inserted into the lineup for Monday’s game against the Calgary Flames. He’s been used in a limited role thus far and hasn’t registered a point in three games. However, he’s used his physicality when possible and got into another fight with MacKenzie Weegar in the Rangers’ 5-4 overtime win against the Flames.
Jones, AHL All-Star
Rangers’ prospect Zac Jones was selected to play in the AHL All-Star Classic. Jones has had an interesting time thus far with the Rangers. He’s played parts of three seasons since he joined the roster after his college career. He played 10 games with the Blueshirts at the end of the 2020-21 season and a total of 12 all of last season.
Jones played 16 games with the big club this season but has grown and flourished in Hartford. He’s leading the team in scoring for defensemen with 35 points in 52 games; the next closest defender on the club has 17 points in 40.
Vesey, Harpur & Leschyshyn
Jimmy Vesey signed a two-year contract extension that will keep him in a Rangers uniform until the end of the 2024-25 season. He has 18 points in 49 games so far this season with a plus-7 rating. Vesey has been great in shorthanded situations while adding depth up and down the lineup.
The Rangers also signed Ben Harpur to a two-year contract extension. He will remain under contract through the 2024-25 season. The 6-foot-6, 231-pound defenseman has played 20 games, has four points and is even in the plus/minus department. He gives the Rangers much-needed size on the backend and knows his role. Since Harpur was called up from the Wolf Pack, the Rangers have been much better defensively.
Related: New York Rangers’ 2023 Trade targets: Luke Schenn
The Rangers claimed Jake Leschyshyn off waivers last month from the Vegas Golden Knights. Leschyshyn has played in seven games with the Blueshirts and has yet to register a point. However, he has a 54.5 faceoff percentage (FO%) since joining the team.
Meier to Manhattan?
With the news of Bo Horvat being dealt to the New York Islanders and the subsequent long-term contract they gave him, the focus has turned to Timo Meier. He’s considered to be the most coveted trade target right now. According to Frank Seravalli, the Rangers have their sights set on the San Jose Sharks forward. He also points out the close relationship Sharks’ general manager (GM) Mike Grier has with the Rangers, which might make a difference.
However, Dan Rosen doesn’t see an easy path for the Rangers to obtain Meier. He says between their cap situation and the fact that Meier will be a restricted free agent (RFA) after this season, who’s reportedly due a $10 million qualifying offer, it won’t be easy to pull off. Plus, Rosen says the asking price may be too steep.