Vinni Lettieri, the Rangers’ speedy, shoot-first winger, is playing with Hartford (AHL), where he was sent during the All-Star break. But the Minnesota native caught the eye of the Rangers’ coach.
“He wasn’t going to play right now. I wanted to get Cody [Mc Leod] in,” said Alain Vigneault, referring to the veteran winger claimed off waivers from the Predators. “I wanted him [Lettieri] to play big minutes in Hartford. Saw real good upside. I liked his pursuit ability, I liked his shot, he’s not afraid to shoot it, shoot it from different areas. Got a good young talent there. It’ll take some time to develop, but I liked his potential.”
Lettieri, 22, had a goal and three assists in 10 games for the Rangers and has 22 points in 33 games with the Wolf Pack, including a goal and three shots on Saturday.
During the four-game road trip, defenseman Tony DeAngelo posted two assists, was a minus-1 and averaged about 16 minutes on ice with Kevin Shattenkirk sidelined.
DeAngelo, acquired from Arizona in the Derek Stepan/Antti Raanta trade, again was partnered with Brendan Smith on the third defensive pair Thursday night.
“Defensively, he’s been very stable. His stick is better, he’s in better position to take lanes away and to take the opposition’s options away, and he’s made some good heads-up plays,” Vigneault said. “Most of the games we’ve been tracking, he’s been on the positive side of chances for and against.”
The Rangers wore their latest Winter Classic jerseys for the first time since the event . . . Mats Zuccarello entered Thursday one point from 300 in his NHL career . . . F Paul Carey and D Steven Kampfer were healthy scratches.