Hedberg had joined the Rangers in training camp Sept. 10 after incumbent backup Martin Biron was excused from the team to handle a personal matter.
Coach Alain Vigneault said he discussed his upcoming goalie rotation with Hedberg and let him decide if he wanted to remain with the Rangers on a limited opportunity to play during New York's four-game, five-night trip to Western Canada and Las Vegas.
"I called Johan this morning and told him there's a possibility [he] might get half a game, but there's also a possibility he might not get a game," Vigneault said. "He's a veteran player, a guy that is well-respected across the league, so I wanted him to hear it from me what was the scenario and I left the decision up to him. He decided to stay back."
As the backup to Martin Brodeur in New Jersey last season, Hedberg, 40, went 6-10-3 with a 2.76 goals-against average. He was bought out of the final season of his contract after the team acquired Cory Schneider from the Vancouver Canucks.
Hedberg's release leaves Biron and Cam Talbot competing to back up Henrik Lundqvist. Biron, 36, has been the Rangers’ No. 2 goalie the past three seasons. Splitting time with Talbot, Biron made his preseason debut Tuesday, stopping all six shots he faced in a 3-2 preseason win against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Biron is in the final season of a two-year, $2.6 million contract.
Lundqvist will start and play the entire game on Monday against the Calgary Flames and next Thursday against the Vancouver Canucks. Biron faces the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday with a starter for next Friday's preseason finale against the Los Angeles Kings in Las Vegas to be determined.
Also Wednesday, the Rangers assigned center Ryan Bourque, right wing Josh Nicholls, center Michael St. Croix, right wing Shawn O'Donnell and defenseman Brendon Nash to the Hartford Wolf Pack, the club's American Hockey League affiliate.