Saying "it's time to get Dan in" Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault announced two hours before gametime that recently-acquired Daniel Carcillo will make his Rangers debut Wednesday night--against his former team--when the Rangers face off with the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center. J.T. Miller will be scratched to make way for Carcillo in the lineup.
The Rangers traded a conditional seventh round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft to Los Angeles this past Saturday to acquire the rugged Carcillo, who has 1,136 career penalty minutes while having played for four NHL teams since 2006-07. He took part in Monday's morning skate, but was a healthy scratch for the evening's 4-3 shootout loss at home to the Columbus Blue Jackets, before taking part in his first full Rangers practice on Tuesday.
"It's a combination of I want to see what we have (in Carcillo), and this (the Blackhawks) being his former team," explained Vigneault of his decision. "It's the team he played with the last couple of years, won a Cup with, so I'm sure he'll be pretty excited to get back in there."
Carcillo, who will be the seventh Ranger ever to wear the No. 13--and first since Nikolai Zherdev to do so--appeared in 26 games this season with the Kings. He recorded 57 penalty minutes, while adding a goal and an assist.
"I see Dan bringing a lot of energy," said Vigneault. "Sometimes you need those momentum shifts changing in games where a guy goes out and gets a couple of big hits which brings a lot of energy, and I see him doing that. That's what I remember from him, and I'm anxious to see what he's going to do with us tonight."
While looking forward to Carcillo's Blueshirt debut, Vigneault also went out of his way to point out that Miller has been playing very well since his latest recall from the Hartford Wolf Pack on December 17th. Miller logged 14:06 and contributed an assist Saturday in Toronto and then played another solid 13:06 Monday night against Columbus in his two most recent outings.
"Not that J.T. has played bad, to the contrary we're very happy with how he's played," explained the head coach. "The more I see that young player, see that potential, if he keeps improving and keeps working at his game there's a chance that someday he'll become a very effective player."
Vigneault noted he did not want to break up any of the top three lines, and needed Brian Boyle and Dominic Moore to remain in the lineup for their penalty killing among other skills, so the only move he could make was to sit Miller when he decided to give Carcillo an opportunity.
On the season Miller has two goals, two assists, four points and 14 penalty minutes in 25 games played.
Henrik Lundqvist will start in goal for the Rangers against Stanley Cup hero Corey Crawford. Lundqvist will start for the fifth time in six games, and is 12-16-3 in 32 appearances this season with a 2.78 goals against average and .906 save percentage.