Will Cuylle’s NHL debut gives the Rangers a needed physical boost

Will Cuylle will make his NHL debut with the Rangers Wednesday night time in opposition to the Maple Leafs in entrance of his family and friends in his dwelling metropolis of Toronto.

Sometimes, the story naturally unfolds higher than it may’ve ever been written. This is a kind of instances, as Cuylle prepares to begin his NHL profession two years, three months and 20 days after the Rangers traded Lias Andersson to the Kings for the proper to draft the big-bodied winger in 2020.

It could also be the delivery of Cuylle’s profession, however the Rangers’ corresponding transfer indicated the potential downfall of one other.

In addition to recalling Cuylle from Hartford for the first time, the Rangers subsequently despatched Sammy Blais all the way down to the Wolf Pack for a two-week conditioning task. Blais, who hasn’t been the similar participant since struggling a season-ending ACL tear 14 video games into final season, needed to comply with the AHL stint, over which the 26-year-old winger will skate in six video games with the Wolf Pack via the NHL bye week.

William Cuylle, proper, skates in opposition to the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on Sept. 30, 2022 in Newark, New Jersey.
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Blais remains to be getting paid his NHL wage and he’ll nonetheless rely in opposition to the cap and the roster, which means the Rangers at the moment are carrying the max 23 gamers and never accruing as a lot cap area with 39 days till the commerce deadline.

“Just go down there and play some massive minutes and hopefully issues go properly for him,” head coach Gerard Gallant stated of what he hopes Blais will get out of the conditioning task. “He hasn’t performed dangerous for us when he is performed, he is performed 8/9/10 minutes most video games. He hasn’t gotten into a groove. He hasn’t had any luck this yr. Hopefully, some good issues will occur to him down there.”

The two strikes got here on the heels of a 6-2 win over the Panthers, which, regardless of the rating, Gallant wasn’t thrilled with. Even although the fourth line was significantly manhandled Monday night time, getting out-attempted 8-0 in 6:49 of ice time collectively, Gallant stated bringing in Cuylle wasn’t a direct response to that.

Cuylle led the Wolf Pack with 13 objectives in 39 video games whereas primarily enjoying in a top-six function. His 20 factors have been additionally good for third on the crew, behind solely Turner Elson’s 23 and Tanner Fritz’s 21. The hope is that Cuylle can provide the fourth line extra of a physical look together with his 6-foot-3, 211-pound body.

Sammy Blais (91) of the Rangers skates against the Devils at the Prudential Center on Jan.  7, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey.
Sammy Blais (91) of the Rangers skates in opposition to the Devils at the Prudential Center on Jan. 7, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey.
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“I feel simply my laborious work, my work ethic,” he stated of what he desires to deliver to the Rangers. “I’ve been scoring a bit down in the AHL and I feel I’m simply going to deliver numerous power on the forecheck right here and possibly attempt to put a couple objectives in the web, as properly.”

The 20-year-old Cuylle expressed confidence in his skill to regulate to a new function in New York, saying that he considers himself to be dependable defensively. In follow on Tuesday, he skated on the fourth line with Jake Leschyshyn, Julien Gauthier and Vitali Kravtsov, who will most likely be a wholesome scratch after a run of 17 video games.

Having scored 5 objectives in the final eight video games, Cuylle’s confidence needs to be in a good place. His ice time will probably be considerably much less, nevertheless, so it might take him a while to regulate to a level the place he can contribute offensively.

“All my household’s there, going to have numerous family and friends, so it is fairly thrilling,” Cuylle stated of Toronto. “If I may choose a spot apart from MSG to have a sport, it will most likely be there.”


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