GREENBURGH, N.Y. - For the Rangers, versatility may determine who makes the opening day roster, so centers Kevin Hayes and Dominic Moore will play on the wing against the Devils on Saturday.
With an abundance of forwards, and with coach Alain Vigneault aiming to carry just 13, the Rangers have already deployed rookie Oscar Lindberg, who has played center for two seasons in Hartford, on the wing. The success of any of these experiments also may affect other wingers, possibly Viktor Stalberg, Emerson Etem or Tanner Glass, who also will play in Newark.
J.T. Miller, who moved up and down the lineup last year, isn't in that discussion. With the fourth preseason game coming up, it appears that Miller, 22, has earned a spot on the top two lines.
"There's been an obvious progression since I've been here," Vigneault said Friday. "Last year during the playoffs, we used him in that role and we saw a definite upside there. There's his skill, his size, his grit, so we feel he deserves an opportunity to see if he can play that top six role."
Jarret Stoll, the free-agent center who won two Stanley Cups with the Kings, could be their fourth-line pivot. Hence, Saturday's mixing and matching.
The 6-5 Hayes, who had 17 goals and 45 points playing center as a rookie last season, was predominantly a right wing at Boston College, and although Vigneault would like a big, third-line center, Hayes may be better suited on the flank.
"We're expecting more from his game," Vigneault said. "So far, and I know it's camp, but Kevin needs to pick up his game."
Hayes has four shots and three hits in two games and is 12-for-34 on faceoffs. He also seems to be having difficulty adjusting to playing without speedy linemate Carl Hagelin, who was traded to Anaheim.
Vigneault is anxious to try Moore, 35, who consistently wins half his faceoffs, at wing.
"He's a smart player and the way we play our system, it's not always the centerman down low, it's not always the centerman in on the check," he said.
With 34 players left in camp, another round of cuts will come Sunday . . . Henrik Lundqvist, who stopped 21 of 22 shots in two periods in Boston on Thursday, will start in New Jersey . . . Defensemen Dan Girardi and Marc Staal, who each had ankle surgery, will dress for the first time this preseason . . . After discussions with captain Ryan McDonagh, Vigneault said another alternate captain to replace the retired Martin St. Louis will not be named at this point.