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Julien Gauthier a sizable presence in Rangers lineup

Julien Gauthier of the Rangers participates in warm-ups

Julien Gauthier of the Rangers participates in warm-ups before a game against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on February 19, 2020. Credit: Getty Images/Jonathan Daniel

CHICAGO — Julien Gauthier, the forward the Rangers acquired Tuesday from the Carolina Hurricanes for defenseman Joey Keane, is a big man. And he uses his size to his advantage, he said.

“Absolutely,’’ the 6-4, 227-pound Gauthier said Wednesday after his first morning skate. “I try to use it as my strength. I’m not useless if I don’t do it, but I’m just not playing the right game. So going to the net, finishing my checks and playing in the dirty areas, that’s good for me.’’

Gauthier, a 2016 first-round pick who scored 26 goals in 44 games this season for Carolina’s AHL affiliate in Charlotte, reported to the Rangers and was issued jersey No. 12. He was in the lineup Wednesday. The 22-year-old had played five NHL games for Carolina this season, recording one assist.

“I was in the American Hockey League for quite a bit, and just to see that they want to give me an opportunity, it’s huge for me,’’ he said. “And I’m really grateful for that.’’

Rangers coach David Quinn said he was excited to have a player with Gauthier’s size and speed.

“He’s been a highly touted player,’’ Quinn said of Gauthier. “First-round pick; played on Canada’s World Junior team [in 2017]; he’s had a lot of success at every level he’s been at. We certainly were excited to get him; we’ve been talking about him for a while, a guy that’s been in our sights.’’

Gauthier, a righthanded shot, started on the fourth line with Brendan Lemieux on the left and Brett Howden at center. He said Quinn and general manager Jeff Gorton told him to just play his own game.

“Obviously, I scored goals in the minors,’’ Gauthier said. “They want me to play my game here, shoot, drive the net, and play big.’’

Another goalie added

Late in the game the Rangers announced they had traded for goaltender J-F Berube from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for future considerations. Berube, 28, has played in the AHL this season for the Flyers’ Lehigh Valley Phantoms farm team, posting a 12-11-4 record, with a 2.56 goals-against average, .906 save percentage and three shutouts ... Greg McKegg was scratched to make room for Gauthier, and with Tony DeAngelo returning to the lineup, Brendan Smith was scratched G Alexandar Georgiev also was scratched.

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