Stoll on waivers, Girardi hurt

In a move that could signal another coming, the Rangers put center Jarret Stoll on waivers. Signed by the team for one year at $800,000, Stoll was brought in to improve face-offs. While he was doing the job by winning 57.9 percent of draws (158-and-115), the former King was doing little else to justify keeping him.

In 29 games, Stoll had a goal and two assists. Per TSN’s Scott Cullen, he had the worst CF percentage (38.6) minimum of 300 minutes players 5-on-5. By comparison, Dominic Moore is 43.0 and Jesper Fast 45.0.

The final straw was probably his return to Edmonton. A game where the entire team was awful. After Rick Nash tied the score with a power play goal, Stoll was on for the Oilers winner 12 seconds later. On a play where Ryan McDonagh got caught pinching, Stoll fanned on a clearing attempt causing a 2-on-1 that resulted in Taylor Hall’s game-winner.

Interestingly, Tanner Glass earned his spot back over Stoll. Since returning, Glass has been a more effective forward getting in on the fore-check and causing scoring chances. Hell. He even buried one from Moore that sparked a three-goal comeback to earn a point in Saturday’s 5-4 overtime loss at Calgary. With Derek Stepan still out but skating in a non-contact jersey, Glass remains in the lineup on the fourth line.

With the Rangers clearing room, another move is coming. That much is known with coach Alain Vigneault confirming that struggling defenseman Dan Girardi will miss tomorrow’s game against the Oilers. He’s been battling a knee injury. It’s clearly limited his mobility. Anyone that’s seen him lately probably thinks he’s finished. He definitely needs a break. Here it comes.

With Girardi out for at least Tuesday, the organization will recall a defenseman. It should be Brady Skjei. The 21-year old 2012 first round pick has 11 points (2-9-11) and a minus-nine rating in 27 games for the Wolf Pack. He impressed during preseason before they sent him down for his first pro year.

There is no viable right D option. Raphael Diaz is hurt and Calle Andersson isn’t ready. The only other choice for Vigneault would be to signal Matt Bodie. Another good skating left D who has been okay with Hartford posting a goal and seven helpers with a minus-one rating. But the 25-year old is undersized and not as big on the Rangers radar as Skjei.

With Kevin Klein still not ready, we’ll get to see someone new on the blueline tomorrow. Hopefully, Skjei. With Dylan McIlrath already proving himself and now possibly Skjei on the way, Ranger fans can finally get a good look at the future of the back end. Even with the team scuffling, that’s reason enough to get excited.

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of New York administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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