Derek Stepan may be signed and back on the team's roster as of Thursday, but he will not be in the lineup, of course, when the Rangers visit the Vancouver Canucks Thursday evening at Rogers Arena. However rookie Jesper Fast will be in the lineup, as head coach Alain Vigneault and his staff will get a third pre-season look at the Swedish winger.
The aptly named Fast has impressed in pre-season contests against the Flyers and Flames, so far, after playing well throughout training camp and prior to that, at the Traverse City Tournament for prospects. Fast has one assist in two games, earning the primary helper on Marc Staal's goal in Calgary, and has an Even plus/minus rating.
Joining Fast up front Thursday are fellow Ranger forwards Rick Nash, Brad Richards, Derick Brassard, Mats Zuccarello, Brian Boyle, Benoit Pouliot, Taylor Pyatt, Derek Dorsett, J.T. Miller, Dominic Moore, and Darroll Powe.
Vigneault will dress his top six defenseman as the pairs of Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi, Marc Staal-Michael Del Zotto, and John Moore-Anton Stralman will skate against former Rangers' coach John Tortorella's team Thursday night.
"I think it's a good storyline (Vigneault and Tortorella), two coaches switching teams, but we're really not talking about it," stated McDonagh following the morning skate. "We're just focusing on trying to get a win here and build on what we've done so far in pre-season."
Henrik Lundqvist, who is 0-2-0 with a 2.70 goals against average while starting pre-season games against the Devils and Flames, will play the entire game in goal for the Blueshirts.