The Rangers traded left wing Brendan Lemieux to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2021 draft.
Lemieux, 25, was acquired from Winnipeg in the Kevin Hayes deal before the 2019 trade deadline. The Rangers had hopes that Lemieux, the son of Claude Lemieux, would provide the physical, agitating presence the team lacked, but he never was able to establish himself in the top three lines.
Lemieux played 109 games for the Rangers over parts of three seasons, and had 11 goals, 20 assists and 214 penalty minutes. This season he played in 31 games and had two goals, five assists and 59 penalty minutes.
With Vitali Kravtsov coming over from Russia, someone was going to have to be moved off the roster to make room for him. Kravtsov’s impending arrival has forced Colin Blackwell to the fourth line, creating a logjam with Lemieux, Blackwell, Kevin Rooney, Phil DiGiuseppe and Brett Howden — when he comes off the team’s COVID-19 list — vying for spots.
Report: Quinn to return Sunday
Coach David Quinn, who missed six games while on the COVID-19 protocol list, is expected to return Sunday when the team plays the Capitals in Washington, according to reports.
Kris Knoblauch, the head coach of the Rangers’ Hartford Wolf Pack farm team, filled in for Quinn after he and the Rangers’ entire bench staff — assistant coaches Jacques Martin, Greg Brown and David Oliver – were declared unavailable March 17. Martin and Brown returned Thursday.
"It’s been a great ride for me, something that was definitely unexpected,’’ Knoblauch said of his time with the parent club. "It’s nice being here in the NHL and having that experienced great group of guys."
The Rangers went 4-2 under Knoblauch’s guidance (though the wins and losses officially go on Quinn’s record).
Knoblauch could not, or would not say who will be in goal Sunday. Igor Shesterkin started the last two games and made 75 saves on 80 shots. Keith Kinkaid last played Monday against Buffalo (a 5-3 win) and Alexandar Georgiev last played Mar. 19, a 2-1 road loss to the Caps… DiGiuseppe, who came off the team's COVID-19 protocol list Thursday, and D Anthony Bitetto were the scratches. Howden missed his third game while on the protocol list.