TORONTO — Nick Holden has had to wait his turn.
It’s an unusual situation for Holden, who played in 80 games last season for the Rangers and scored 11 goals and 34 points, both career highs. The defenseman was a healthy scratch Saturday for the second straight game to open the season.
“We all kind of came into camp knowing it was going to be a competitive year in camp,” said Holden, who has averaged 80 games a season over the past three years, two with the Avalanche. “It wasn’t until the end that things started to sort out. It’s always good to have depth. Unfortunately for me, I’m going to be the depth guy to start.”
Coach Alain Vigneault acknowledged Saturday that a player doesn’t usually lose his lineup role because of injury or illness, and that he expects to deploy Holden in due time. Given the defensive breakdowns against the Maple Leafs on Saturday night, it could be Sunday.
The 6-4 lefty, who played the right side most of last season, was replaced by 21-year-old Tony DeAngelo, who is more mobile but shaky defensively. He was acquired in the trade with Arizona that sent Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta west.
“I felt like I came in good shape, thought I did well in our testing, and in practices and games, I felt I was moving well, thought I played pretty well,” said Holden, in the final season of a two-year contract that pays him $1.65 million per year. “But ultimately, it’s up to management and you respect that. They just said, for now, they’re going to go with those guys, and make sure you’re ready to go. It hasn’t affected my mentality . . . and now I have some time to work on little things that I think are going to help me get back in.”
Kevin Shattenkirk’s first-period goal, his first as a Ranger, was his 300th NHL point . . . . . . Jesper Fast, who underwent hip surgery in June, is practicing with “no pain at all” and has been talking all along with Oscar Lindberg, now with Arizona, on what to expect at certain times in the rehab. The Swedish right wing said he hoped to undergo the required on-ice tests that he missed during camp as soon as possible . . . D Steven Kampfer was a healthy scratch with Holden . . . Mats Zuccarello wore an ‘A’ for the first time.