Jonny Brodzinski providing boost to Rangers’ fourth line

DENVER — The Rangers waived Ryan Carpenter on Thursday likely because management has liked what it has seen from Jonny Brodzinski — and to get back down to 22 players on the roster.

Bringing a faster and more impactful game overall, Brodzinski fit in well on the fourth line between Sammy Blais and Julien Gauthier in the previous two contests. Brodzinski had played in 17 of 20 games for the Rangers’ AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack, after starting the season there out of training camp.

“Just playing solid hockey, just like he did last year when we called him up,” Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant said of Brodzinski. “That line was really good [against Vegas on Wednesday] night and even the game before [against St. Louis], they played more minutes. They’re getting the trust of the coaches.

“We feel good when they’re on the ice. They did a lot of good things in the offensive zone. Cycle pucks down low, not many turnovers. They played really well as a group.”

Jonny Brodzinski
Jonny Brodzinski
NHLI via Getty Images

Last season Brodzinski skated in his most games for the Rangers since joining the organization as a free agent in October 2020. In 22 games, the 6-foot center had a goal and an assist with a career-high 10 penalty minutes.

“For me, personally — it’s now my eighth year pro — it’s kind of more maintenance than anything,” the 29-year-old Brodzinski said of his focus in the offseason. “I’ve been trying to get my speed up a little bit more each summer. Working on conditioning, that’s probably the main thing for me. Coming into camp in the best shape I could possibly be has kind of been the part that I’ve honed in on the most.”

Alongside Gauthier and Blais, who are strong on the forecheck, Brodzinski sees himself as a player who can be the shooter on that line. All together the trio could make for a speedy unit that can provide the Rangers with some energy when they need it.

The Rangers practiced with the same lines they played with in the 5-1 win over the Golden Knights on Wednesday night, meaning Vitali Kravtsov will likely be scratched for the second game in a row.

“Definitely,” Gallant said when asked if there’s still more to find out about the Russian winger. “He’s a young player. No different than the other young players we’ve got. I’m comfortable with my lineup right now. I like [Barclay] Goodrow up there. He’s played great hockey for us all year long. He’s a competitive guy.

“Nothing against Kravy. It’s just I like the lineup right now.”