Unable to regain his former form, the robust Quebec forward Samuel Blais will play a few games with the Wolf Pack of Hartford, in the American Hockey League, he who was loaned by the New York Rangers for fitness purposes, tuesday.
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The native of Montmagny has not been the same since a certain PK Subban hit his right knee head-on on November 14, 2021. He has only played 38 games since and has been content with a harvest of five assists.
Expectations were very high for him after his acquisition from the St. Louis Blues in the summer of 2021. After all, the Missouri team got their hands on the talented Pavel Buchnevich. The Russian winger spins the perfect happiness with the Blues, as evidenced by his 114 points in 111 games since the trade.
A quest for identity
Unable to bounce back in his second season in the Big Apple, Blais has been sidelined six times in Rangers’ last 16 games.
“It was really difficult, there is no doubt about it, confessed head coach Gerard Gallant on a daily basis. New York Post. He played decent hockey at times, but often seemed behind the game. We want him to keep working and stay positive.
“In this sport, things can change quickly. We wish him the best so that he can come back strong and contribute to the success of the team.”
Blais could thus spend up to two weeks with the Wolf Pack to find his bearings, and perhaps also his identity.
“I don’t want ‘Sammy’ thinking he has to give out 10 hits a game and throw the gloves away more often,” Gallant said. He needs to regain his speed and his confidence.”
Beyond his position in the fourth line of the Rangers, Blais must also think about his future in the Bettman circuit. He will reach full autonomy at the end of the campaign and he could struggle to find a one-way contract, unless the situation turns around by the offseason.
“He’s a good boy who worked hard and has a good attitude,” praised Gallant. He’ll just have to be patient and take his chance when it comes.”
A first match for Cuylle
Rangers have also announced that they have recalled young striker Will Cuylle from the Hartford academy club.
The Torontonian, a former 2020 second-round pick, has 20 points in 39 games with the Wolf Pack this season.
The New York team confirmed on Twitter that Cuylle will play his first game in the National Hockey League on Wednesday, when the Rangers will be in his hometown to face the Maple Leafs.