VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The future is now for Boo Nieves.
With forwards Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich sidelined for Sunday night’s 3-1 win in Edmonton and expected to miss at least Tuesday night’s game against the Canucks, the Rangers recalled Nieves, the 22-year-old former University of Michigan center.
Nieves — whose first name is Cristoval and who was born in upstate Baldwinsville — was en route to Canada’s west coast to make his NHL debut Tuesday night.
A second-round draft pick in 2012 who captained the Rangers’ prospect team in the Traverse City Tournament in September, Nieves has size (6-3, 220) and talent. He had 31 points in 35 games in his senior year as a Wolverine and won 59.5 percent of faceoffs.
Nieves was injured and missed much of training camp, but he impressed enough for coach Alain Vigneault to say: “We’re going to discuss whether we’re better off keeping him around or letting him go play a couple of games [in Hartford] and then taking a look again.”
Nieves — who as a youngster was called “Bugaboo” by his parents, a nickname that was shortened and stuck — has a goal and five assists in 13 games for the Wolf Pack this season. Four of those points have come in the last seven games. On Tuesday night, he likely will be the fourth-line center, between Brandon Pirri and Oscar Lindberg. Because Nieves is on an entry-level contract, he did not have to clear waivers.
Buchnevich, who suffered a recurrence of back spasms during warm-ups Sunday, is termed “day-to-day.” Kreider’s situation was not updated as of Monday.
On Sunday, Kreider attended team meetings at the new arena in Edmonton and then was sent to be evaluated by team doctors. Later Sunday night, Vigneault said he wasn’t sure whether the “upper-body” injury was related to the neck spasms that kept Kreider out for four games from Oct. 23-30 and declined to speculate on the cause of the issue.
The Rangers did not practice Monday. Vig neault will have his daily briefing after Tuesday’s skate at Rogers Arena.
Notes & quotes: Henrik Lundqvist, who made 35 saves in the 4-1 win in Calgary to open this four-game road trip, will face the Canucks, who beat the Rangers, 5-3, at the Garden on Nov. 8 . . . The Rangers are 6-1 in November. As of Monday, they were not only the highest-scoring team in the NHL (65 goals) but the least-penalized club (45 penalties) . . . Rangers play-by-play voice Sam Rosen, who was named one of two recipients of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award at the Hall of Fame ceremonies in Toronto, will be honored by the Rangers on Sunday when they host the Florida Panthers.