Alain Vigneault is not pleased with the play of his fourth line of late and on Saturday the Rangers decided to shake things up a bit in that area of the team by placing veteran forward Daniel Paille on waivers.
Step two of the process will be finalized on Sunday when a forward is recalled from the Hartford Wolf Pack to take Paille's place on the fourth line alongside Dominic Moore and Tanner Glass. Vigneault indicated that Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton and associate coach Scott Arniel will be up in Springfield, where Hartford is in action, Saturday night to scout the Wolf Pack and make a final determination on which forward to call up.
"Right now that's the spot we have (on the fourth line) so it would be more likely a checker, a guy that can possibly kill penalties, but after talking to (the Hartford) coaches somebody else has been playing above and beyond then we'll have to make that call," Vigneault said of the call up Sunday.
Jayson Megna has twice been recalled by the Rangers from Hartford this season, and has appeared in six games at the NHL level, totaling two points with a goal and an assist. The question for the Rangers may be whether he fills the role they are seeking--as he is more of a top-nine forward.
Though Vigneault did not publicly speculate on which forward may be recalled, some names worth watching include Ryan Bourque, the team's third-round pick in 2009 who is currently Hartford's captain and has one game of NHL experience and Marek Hrivik, the Wolf Pack's second-leading scorer with 27 points and strong, physical winger.
Nicklas Jensen, Luke Adam and Brian Gibbons are three Hartford forwards who have previous NHL experience, as well.
As for the state of his fourth line late in the season, Vigneault admitted he's still seeking the right chemistry.
"We've tried different players on that line and we're still looking for a combination to make us a more effective four-line team," stated Vigneault. "I think it's safe to say that our expectations of that line is a little bit higher than what we are getting at this time. The only player where we are satisfied with what he's bringing is Tanner."
As for as Moore, who has 11 points (5-6-11) in 56 games played this season to go along with a -3 plus/minus mark, Vigneault was clear that he expects more.
"Dom's play needs to be better, there's no doubt," said the head coach. "Faceoffs, the penalty killing aspects, the defensive aspects, all areas that he's done better in the past, he's not doing as well now."
Paille appeared in 12 games with the Rangers after being signed as a free agent in late January. He was scoreless and minus two, with Vigneault stating that the club was looking for an :"upgrade" in that position.