When all the dust settled Thursday, forward Paul Carey seems to be a lock to make the team and be in the opening night lineup for the New York Rangers.The New York Rangers are ready to put out a solid team for opening night. Paul Carey might be one of those guys making the list come Oct. 5.
Paul Carey has played most of his hockey career in the minor leagues, most recently when he was a member of the Washington Capitals organization. He skated for their AHL affiliate, the Hersey Bears, for two seasons. Last season for Hershey, he appeared in 55 games and registered 24 goals with 31 assists for 55 points.
As an NHL player, Carey has played in a total of 32 career games notching one goal and one assist. The Rangers signed him in the offseason as a free agent on a one-year, two-way deal worth $650,000 in the NHL and $400,000 in the AHL. He had tough competition, but the right decision was made to keep him on the team over some other strong players. Carey scored a goal in the preseason game earlier this week against the Philadelphia Flyers.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) September 26, 2017
The 6-foot-1 winger should fit in nicely on this Rangers team. In the preseason, he showed great speed on the ice along with strong defensive play.
“In the last four or five days, he’s caught my attention in games by his speed and the quickness that he showed to get to checks and get away from checks,” Vigneault said. “He’s right there in the mix. Real good skater, real good speed, And I really like his practice habits.”
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) September 28, 2017
Carey spoke with the Rangers media after practice, saying “the coaches like my speed, the energy I bring to the game.” He also spoke about his game, stating “I play a 200-foot game and make some plays out there.”
When asked what he could bring to this already strong Rangers team, Carey replied, “I can bring a lot of offense and steady defensive game to the fourth line and play physical.”
The fourth line was referring to, for now, consists of David Desharnais centering Jimmy Vesey and Carey. That was the line that was on the ice at practice on Thursday but nothing is definite right now. The Rangers practiced with what seemed to be the opening night lineup on Thursday afternoon after some cuts were made.
The decision to sign with the New York Rangers was a little easier to make since his best friend, Kevin Hayes, is on the team as well as Jimmy Vesey, who Carey worked out with in the offseason. Carey was also a teammate of Hayes and Chris Kreider when they played hockey together at Boston College.
Carey was the Colorado Avalanche’s fifth-round pick, 135th overall, in the 2007 NHL entry draft. He knows how hard it is to get into an NHL game and now he is going to figure out that it may be harder to stay in the league full-time. Being on the so-called fourth line in New York is no walk in Central Park. Vigneault expects a lot more than just having players eat up minutes when they are on the ice. He expects them to perform at the highest level all the time.
Carey will be expected to play a lot of important minutes for the team this season. The fourth line players get significant penalty killing situations and Carey will need to pick up the coach’s system sooner rather than later.
Watching him play in the preseason, you can see his determination. He came in with a mindset to make the team and he did that with authority. Now his goals morph into him proving to the team that their decision was the correct one. Thursday, the Rangers cut seven players but Carey remained. He hasn’t accomplished anything yet and has the potential to be great.
Come next Thursday at Madison Square Garden, Carey will get another first to knock off his bucket list: New York Rangers introductions at Madison Square Garden. That is the time he will officially be recognized as a starting player with the Rangers. He will also know it’s time to prove himself again.
Welcome to the New York Rangers, Paul Carey. Good luck this season!