Czech Republic defenseman Tomas Kaberle, left, and USA forward David...

Czech Republic defenseman Tomas Kaberle, left, and USA forward David Backes chase the puck behind the Czech Republic goal during the first period of a men's quarterfinal hockey game in at the 2014 Winter Olympics on Feb. 19, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Credit: AP

With a shortage of experienced defensemen and a heavy slate of November games, the Rangers have invited unrestricted free agent Tomas Kaberle for an assessment, a source close to the team confirmed Tuesday.

Kaberle, 36, played last year in the Czech Republic. In September, Kaberle, who played 12 years in the NHL with the Maple Leafs, had a training camp tryout with the Devils but was released.

The veteran blueliner also has played for the Bruins, Hurricanes and Canadiens. In 984 regular-season games, he has 87 goals and 476 assists. Last year, he was 4-20-24 in 48 games with Kladno of the Czech League.

It was unclear when Kaberle will skate with the team, which hosts the Red Wings Wednesday night.

The Blueshirts (5-4-2) are missing four of their top six defensemen: captain Ryan McDonagh (separated shoulder), Dan Boyle (broken hand), Kevin Klein (bruised foot) and John Moore (five-game suspension).

After an optional practice Tuesday, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault had no update on the injury to Klein, who was struck by a shot in the first period against the Jets on Saturday, the same game when McDonagh was felled by an Evander Kane check. Moore will serve the third game of his suspension Wednesday. Boyle, injured in the Oct. 9 opener, has been skating in a non-contact jersey and is beginning to shoot. Matt Hunwick, who won the seventh spot out of camp, is now playing in the top four. Michael Kostka, Conor Allen and Dylan McIlrath have been summoned from the AHL.

Up front, the Rangers are closer to full health.

Mats Zuccarello, who sat out Monday's 4-3 shootout loss to St. Louis with a lower-body injury, practiced and should be in the lineup against Detroit. And center Derek Stepan, who broke his left leg on Sept. 24, has been cleared medically to return, but that won't be until Saturday in Toronto. Vigneault said there was a "very, very slim" chance that Stepan would dress against the Red Wings, noting that he had not participated in a full practice with contact.

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