New York Rangers, Mats Zuccarello
Photo by Bergen Record

As the New York Rangers host the Boston Bruins for their final regular season tune-up, we wonder who will make the final 2015-2016 roster.

By Steven Cifuentes

The New York Rangers end the “always one-game too many” preseason tonight at Madison Square Garden by taking on the Boston Bruins at 7 PM ET.

Usually, when a team has been as successful as the Rangers in recent times, there are minimal storylines during this time. This year, on the other hand, could not be anything further from the truth.

While the Rangers have cut their roster to 25, going into the final preseason games, there are some interesting decisions to be made after tonight’s tilt. Will Dylan McIlrath make the team? Did Emerson Etem play his way out of town? Do they Rangers go with seven or eight defenseman? Will “fan favorite” Tanner Glass make the team?

Tonight’s lineup features all the players that have one last shot to make the team:

While the score tonight means nothing in the record books, some players will be playing for their hockey lives.

Let’s take a look at my projected final roster and lines that will represent the 2015-2016 Rangers on opening night:

Forwards (13):

Rick Nash, Derick Brassard, Mats Zucarello Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan, J.T. Miller, Jarret Stoll, Kevin Hayes, Oscar Lindberg Viktor Stalberg, Dominic Moore, Jesper Fast

Healthy Scratches: Emerson Etem

Yes Rangers fans, the proverbial whipping boy Tanner Glass is not making this team. This speaks volumes about the direction the NHL is going with fighting and how Alain Vigneault has seen the light that Glass just does not bring much to the table.

While I have Kevin Hayes playing center I have flanked him with two solid faceoff players on the wings.  Expect Hayes at center, but expect Jarret Stoll and Oscar Lindberg to take all the draws.

Defense (8)

Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, Keith Yandle Dan Boyle, Kevin Klein

Healthy Scratches: Raphael Diaz and Dylan McIlrath

I have said it before and will say it again it appears the year in Hartford under the watchful eye of Jeff Beukeboom has done wonders for McIlrath’s game. Not only will he make the team, but his presence will force general manager Jeff Gorton’s hand and allow him to move Kevin Klein and his $2.9 million dollar salary. I can see Gorton trading Klein in the near future and

Vigneault switching Raphael Diaz and McIlrath into the sixth defenseman’s spot, depending on the matchup. When the speed teams like the New York Islanders come to town Diaz will be in, when a tough team like the Bruins come to town McIlrath will get the nod.

I would type out a paragraph about the goaltenders but that decision was made a couple weeks ago and is set in stone. When you have arguably the best goalie in the NHL, it is easy to project who will get the majority of starts in net.

Vigneault is asking all the the Rangers on the bubble to make his life difficult and grab those final roster spots:

Enjoy the last non-pressure game Rangers fans, because starting Oct. 7 it is time to get all the lucky charms out and start another long run and chance at the Stanley Cup.

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Founder of New York Hockey Message board on Facebook. If you want to know one man's opinion of Rangers hockey, great and awful, he is the man to seek out. Steve is a self proclaimed obsessed Rangers Fan. Steven's perfect romantic evening is a Beer, Wings and a Ranger game on TV with his girlfriend. Girlfriend is optional of course.