"It would be nice," coach Tom Renney said in discussing yesterday's waiving of Fritsche, the 23-year-old forward who arrived with Nikolai Zherdev from Columbus in the July trade for Fedor Tyutin and Christian Backman and appeared in just 16 games. "In a perfect world, yeah."
The Rangers have carried just six defensemen virtually all season.
By placing Fritsche on waivers, the Rangers will move about $362,800 from the salary cap, whether he is claimed by noon or assigned to the AHL's Hartford Wolf Pack. "The bottom line is it gives us a little bit of flexibility," Renney said, adding that he anticipated that Fritsche (1-3-4), who played just once in the last 21 games, would skate with the team today in Pittsburgh.
"It comes down to how you utilize a guy," Renney said. "If the writing appears to be on the wall that it's going to be sporadic ... the fact of the matter is, he hasn't been playing. If he has to go down to play, so be it. He'll practice with us until somebody tells me he's going somewhere else."
Fritsche is the second forward acquired in the offseason who has been waived. Patrick Rissmiller, signed as a free agent to a three-year, $3-million contract, was waived in December and is skating on the second line for the Pack.
Prucha final spare
Petr Prucha, the other healthy scratch last night, is the lone spare forward on the 21-man roster ... If the Rangers need another forward, the call-up could be center Artem Anisimov. The 20-year-old Russian center, who was the Rangers' second-round pick in the 2006 draft, is 21-27-48 in 46 games in Hartford. He also had a goal and two assists in the AHL All-Star Game over the weekend ... It's unclear whether Penguins forward Sidney Crosby (knee) will dress for tonight's game at Mellon Arena, but Matt Cooke is out. He was suspended for two games yesterday for a blow to the head of Hurricanes forward Scott Walker on Jan. 20.