GREENBURGH — It was only the first day of practice at training camp for the Rangers, and new coach Peter Laviolette already had said that the lines and defense combinations he put on the ice for the first day would be different for the second day.
Still, Laviolette had had three months to think about what he wanted the lines and defense pairs to look like on the first day of practice, so there was a significance to the combinations he put on the ice Friday. They certainly could be the ones the team goes with on Opening Night in Buffalo on Oct. 12.
The most jarring thing about the new combinations was seeing the Adam Fox-Ryan Lindgren and Jacob Trouba-K’Andre Miller defense pairs split up. For the first day, at least, Laviolette had Fox with Miller and Trouba with Lindgren.
But perhaps the most intriguing new combination was the line that had Filip Chytil centering for left wing Artemi Panarin, with newcomer Blake Wheeler on the right.
“I’m happy that I can be with [Panarin],’’ said Chytil, who said he enjoyed the fast-paced, two-hour practice. “It’s always fun to play with him, to have him on the wing. Just, we need to talk a little bit and I think we will be fine . . . and I think that we can match together.’’
Laviolette put all the returning players from last year’s roster in the early-morning group, along with veteran free-agent additions Wheeler, Nick Bonino, Tyler Pitlick, defenseman Erik Gustafsson and goalie Jonathan Quick. Defenseman Zac Jones, who made the team out of training camp last year before getting sent down to AHL Hartford, also was in the group. It made for a collection of players that seemed pretty close to what the opening night roster will look like.
Two other groups, made up mostly of AHL players, prospects and a few free-agent additions, practiced later in the day and scrimmaged against each other in the afternoon.
The other lines in the morning had Alexis Lafreniere at right wing with Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad; Vincent Trocheck centering for right wing Kaapo Kakko and left wing Barclay Goodrow, and Jimmy Vesey, Bonino and Pitlick making up a fourth line. Gustafsson partnered with Braden Schneider on the third defense pair and Jones and Ben Harpur looked to be the fourth pair.
Laviolette said after practice that he will change things up for Saturday. Fox-Miller and Trouba-Lindgren won’t be together, and neither will Chytil and Panarin. But the coach did point out that “all the lines executed pretty well’’ Friday, when he was trying to install some of his offensive concepts.
“I thought it was really, really crisp,’’ he said. “Sometimes it’s not like that; sometimes the passing’s off, or the speed’s off, or the ‘compete’ is off. And I thought, for the first time getting on the ice, it was really good.’’
Notes & quotes: The Rangers signed D Adam Clendening to a professional tryout agreement. Clendening, 30, played 31 games for the Rangers in 2016-17 and had two goals and nine assists. But he hasn’t played in the NHL since playing four games with Columbus in 2018-19. He split last season between Rockford and Hartford of the AHL . . . On Thursday, the Rangers signed G Brad Arvanitis to a tryout agreement. Arvanitis played for three teams in the ECHL last season.