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Training Camp Buzz: Kakko, Panarin to make preseason debuts with Rangers

Eller out with injury, Ovechkin, Backstrom in lineup for Capitals @NHLdotcom

Welcome to the 2019 preseason! Camps are open, preseason games have begun and it's a busy time, with rookies looking to make a name for themselves and veterans looking to lock down roster spots. Each day we will have all the updates of note right here.

Here is the training camp news for Wednesday:

Kakko, Panarin, Trouba to make preseason debuts for Rangers

Artemi Panarin, Jacob Trouba, Kaapo Kakko and Adam Fox will each be in the lineup when the New York Rangers play their preseason opener against the New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; MSG, MSG+).

Panarin, Trouba and Kakko are expected to be on the first power-play unit with returning veteran forwards Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider. Kakko will be on the top line with Panarin and Zibanejad. Trouba is expected to be on the top defense pairing with Brady Skjei.

"It means so much," said Kakko, the 18-year-old right wing who was the No. 2 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. "First game in MSG, it's a big game. I know we have great fans and it'll be such a good feeling in MSG."

The Rangers signed Panarin to a seven-year contract on July 1, acquired Fox in a trade from the Carolina Hurricanes on April 30 and signed him to an entry-level contract two days later, and acquired Trouba in a trade with the Winnipeg Jets on June 17 before signing him to a seven-year contract July 19.

Forward Vitali Kravtsov, the No. 9 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, and goalie Igor Shesterkin will also make their Rangers debuts. 

Dan Rosen


Eller day-to-day for Capitals

Lars Eller is day to day with an upper-body injury and won't be in the lineup for the Washington Capitals when they play the St. Louis Blues at Capital One Arena on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET, NBCSWA).

"It's preseason, so we'll just have him play hopefully the next game and do the right thing," Capitals coach Todd Reirden said. "We're not going to play a player who's not 100 percent in preseason."

Eller was not ruled out for their next game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.

With Eller out, Connor McMichael, the No. 25 pick in the 2019 draft will center the third line between Carl Hagelin and Richard Panik. McMichael had an assist in his debut against the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday.

Capitals forwards Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jakub Vrana, and T.J. Oshie, and defensemen John Carlson, Dmitry Orlov and Radko Gudas are expected to make their preseason debuts.

Brett Leason, the No. 56 pick in the 2019 draft, will make his debut on a line with Ovechkin and Backstrom.

Harvey Valentine


Sundqvist injured in practice, day to day for Blues

Oskar Sundqvist is day to day after the Blues forward sustained an unknown injury in practice Wednesday.

Blues coach Craig Berube said Sundqvist "tweaked something" at the end of practice.

"We'll see tomorrow how he is," Berube said about the status of Sundqvist, who was not expected to play against the Capitals.

Forwards Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz and Tyler Bozak, defensemen Colton Parayko and Vince Dunn and goalie Jordan Binnington are each expected to make their preseason debut.

"Somewhere around four (games played) is usually a pretty good number for everybody to get the feel back," Schwartz said about playing during the preseason.

Binnington is expected to play the first two periods; Evan Fitzpatrick, the No. 59 pick of the 2016 NHL Draft, will play the third.

Louie Korac


Hall could play for Devils this weekend

Taylor Hall could play his first preseason game this weekend for the Devils.

The forward missed the final 47 games last season and had arthroscopic surgery in February to remove fragments from his left knee.

"I've felt good," Hall said. "I think there's maybe a couple things I want to feel a little bit better on but for the most part I can't complain. My energy has felt good every day after [practice], and this is a pretty hard training camp so you're putting yourself through a lot and the knee has held up pretty well so far.

"I'm just going to keep pushing it and when I talk to the medical staff, we'll see what games they want to put me in, if any, but things are trending pretty well."

The Devils host the Rangers at Prudential Center on Friday and the New York Islanders on Saturday. They open the regular season against the Winnipeg Jets on Oct. 4.

Mike Morreale


McDavid may play in preseason for Oilers

Connor McDavid could play a preseason game for the Edmonton Oilers, general manager Ken Holland said on Wednesday.

McDavid, who tore the PCL in his left knee on April 6, has been practicing at training camp but has not been cleared to play.

"First off, the doctors are making the final decision," Holland said. "Secondly, we're going to err on the side of caution. But obviously, if the doctors sign off and Connor wants to play then he'll play preseason."

The Oilers, who have played two preseason games, host the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday (9 p.m. ET, SN1) and the Calgary Flames on Friday. 

"Is there a chance he can play next week? There's a chance," Holland said. "I think we need to run off another four, five or six days and then we'll see. I'm not going to say, yes, I'm not going to say no. I think we're pretty optimistic for opening night."

Derek Van Diest


Burdasov signs PTO with Oilers

Anton Burdasov signed a professional tryout contract with the Oilers on Wednesday.

The 28-year-old forward has played 10 seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League where he has 176 points (89 goals, 87 assists) in 386 regular-season games and 30 points (16 goals, 14 assists) in 89 playoff games.

"I know that we're not the only team he's talking to," Holland said. "If we feel he's worthy of offering a contract, we'll take a look at our salary cap."

Holland said Burdasov, who was at practice Wednesday, could play against the Flames on Friday.

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