GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Signing Brad Richards and Mike Rupp during the summer was a needed and warranted step in the evolution of the current New York Rangers. But, coach John Tortorella is still banking on a number of young players to win roster spots in this training camp.
"We have to try to continue to try to infuse more youth into our lineup," Tortorella said. "During the summer we went in a direction and got a couple of veteran guys. That's where we are in our process. We're still a very young team now, but we added some people at the other end that can mentor. There are spots open and there is going to be competition along the way because we want to continue to try to get young guys in there.
"They have to earn it, but it's a good situation for them," he continued. "There are a number of young kids out there that are going to vie for a spot depending on how they play."
Defensemen Tim Erixon, Michael Del Zotto and Pavel Valentenko as well as forwards Mats Zuccarello, Ryan Bourque and Carl Hagelin are a sampling of the guys Tortorella is talking about. All of them have to be considered viable candidates to earn roster spots or at least be among the final cuts.
Tortorella added that he would be disappointed if some of them didn't make the opening night roster.
"I would be because I think that's important for our organization to keep on trying to grow from within and with our kids," he said. "But, I'm not going to force feed it either."
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