Boo Nieves’s days with the New York Rangers seem to be numbered as the club assigned him to the Hartford Wolf Pack Friday.
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— x – New York Rangers (@NYRangers) December 6, 2019
There was no corresponding move to the Nieves demotion, signaling the possible return of Greg McKegg, who’s been out the last six games with a lower-body injury.
For Nieves, his play since returning to the Blueshirts was nothing short of up and down. There were stretches when it looked like he could be a steady presence on the fourth line, but there were also times where he found himself taking the bad penalty that would cost the Rangers.
One has to wonder how much longer New York will keep Nieves around, considering the depth the club has down the middle. After Filip Chytil establishing himself as a top-nine player, Brett Howden has been taking consistent reps as the club’s fourth-line center. Lias Andersson is still highly regarded by the organization, leaving Nieves as the likely odd man out.
Aside from the Nieves demotion, there has yet to be word on the status of Libor Hajek, who could not return in Thursday night’s contest with an injury. Should Hajek be unable to go, it could signal the return of Marc Staal the Blueshirt’s lineup.
Staal had ankle surgery on Nov. 9 and just started practicing with the Blueshirts again. If he is unable to go, Brendan Smith could switch back to the blueline for a game instead of playing up front.
There also remains a question mark in goal for the Rangers Friday with Henrik Lundqvist leaving the bench during Thursday’s game with an illness, according to The Athletic’s Rick Carpiniello. If Lundqvist is unable to go, New York would have to make a move to bring a goaltender up.