In some more local hockey news, both the Rangers and Devils made interesting moves. Each signed a young player. One will be on an NHL roster as expected while the other will get their first taste of pro hockey in the AHL.
The Devils re-signed restricted free agent Jesper Bratt to a two-year deal worth an average cap hit of $2.75 million. The 22-year old from Stockholm, Sweden is entering his fourth NHL season.
A former sixth round pick in the ’16 NHL Draft, Bratt has played in a top nine role for New Jersey. In all three of his seasons, he’s recorded over 30 points while filling a role on the penalty kill. Last year, he hit a new career high with 16 goals while adding 16 assists for 32 points in 60 games. Look for him to slot in on one of the top two lines.
In other news, the Devils waived Nick Merkley, Colton White, Josh Jacobs, Ben Street and Brandon Gignac.
Nico Hischier is still not skating according to new coach Lindy Ruff. He will not start the season in time. For now, Travis Zajac will center one of the top two lines while ’19 top pick Jack Hughes anchors the other which will likely feature Kyle Palmieri and possibly Andreas Johnsson or Nikita Gusev.
In Rangers news, they decided to sign recent ’20 first round pick Braden Schneider to an AHL contract. Having missed the cutoff to sign him to an entry level contract (ELC), they apparently liked what they saw from the big right defenseman at the World Junior Championships. He played well in a second pair role for Canada. Schneider showed off his physical style while also jumping into the play where he contributed a goal and two assists with 25 penalty minutes and a plus-eight rating.
Schneider is 19 from Prince Albert, Saskatoon. The Rangers thought highly enough of him that they swapped first round picks and gave up a third to the Flames to select Schneider at number 19. A good skater who isn’t afraid to use his size to finish checks, he could become the hard-nosed physical defenseman the team lacks. They have changed the look of the roster over the last year plus by adding Jacob Trouba and finding out that Ryan Lindgren is a solid top four defenseman.
With plenty of defensive depth in the system that features Nils Lundkvist, Zac Jones, Matthew Robertson and Tarmo Reunanen, the organization is in good hands under Team President John Davidson and GM Jeff Gorton. They have to be excited about ’18 first round pick K’Andre Miller impressing coach David Quinn enough to make the NHL roster. He’ll get the chance to start with Trouba on the number one pair. Only 20, it’s a great opportunity for the former Badger.
Even though he didn’t make the team, Quinn told reporters that we could still see forward Morgan Barron get into some games. He felt Barron looked a little tight. Barron will likely be on the taxi squad. They also could get him into AHL games when it starts up.