The fact the Rangers are holding Barclay Goodrow out of team scrimmages in an abundance of caution should not be of concern, because as we saw during the playoffs, nothing will keep the utility forward off the ice when the real games begin.
Coming off a broken ankle that sidelined him for 11 games over the first and second rounds of the postseason — before his inexplicable return in Game 6 against the Hurricanes — Goodrow is easing himself back into competitive play. Considering how important a role Goodrow plays on this team, it’s understandable why the organization would rather be safe than sorry.
“It feels good,” Goodrow said Thursday afternoon after the first on-ice day of training camp at MSG Training Center in Tarrytown. “How it feels today compared to a month ago even, it’s night and day. If the season started tomorrow I could play no problem, but we just talked about taking it slow and making sure it’s 1,000 percent.
“It’s a long season, it’s something I don’t want to be nagging around and lingering going into the season. You may as well let it heal completely and make sure it’s 100 percent.”
Goodrow said his plan is to participate in at least some of the six preseason games, which begin on Monday against the Islanders at Madison Square Garden. Head coach Gerard Gallant echoed that sentiment, but noted that it may not be right away.
The way-too-early-to-matter line combinations have Goodrow skating on the fourth line, but Gallant said the winger will see some time on the top unit next to Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad. Sammy Blais, who is back in the mix after an ACL tear sidelined him for a majority of last season, is getting the first look in that right-wing spot.
However, Gallant has shown an affinity toward plugging Goodrow in all areas of the lineup.
“I was happy to see Sammy get through that scrimmage and play the way he did,” Gallant said. “I’m sure he was really excited because it’s been  months since he really played. He worked hard. It was good, he got through it and everything was really good. I know confidence-wise for him, it was huge.
“Goodrow is going to be there a little bit and [Sammy is] going to be there a little bit. We’ll see where we go from there. Great day for him.”