Veteran Greg McKegg has became vital plug-in piece for Rangers

TAMPA, Fla. — Greg McKegg has 10 seasons of experience in a depth role with seven different NHL clubs, so fluctuating between AHL Hartford and the Rangers this season is far from a new experience for the 29-year-old journeyman.

The season he played the most games of his career actually came with the Rangers in 2019-20, when he competed in 53 of 70 games before the season was suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a free agent after that campaign, McKegg signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Bruins and spent a majority of last season on the taxi squad, appearing in just five games.

In July, McKegg opted to return to Broadway and signed another one-year, two-way contract with the Rangers.

“I love it here, love the guys, love the staff, the city,” he said Friday before the Rangers’ New Year’s Eve matchup with the Lightning. “Everything about it was great, I enjoyed my time here and I think any chance you get to play in New York and play for the Rangers, it’s tough to pass up.”

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Greg McKegg fights for the puck against the Lightning.
NHLI via Getty Images

Since McKegg was waived after training camp and subsequently assigned to the Wolf Pack, he has been recalled to the Rangers on four separate occasions. He skated in just one AHL contest this season. McKegg has been the Rangers go-to player to plug into the lineup amid injuries and COVID-19 protocol cases.

“I think the luxury here is that we’re a really good hockey team,” McKegg said. “There’s a lot of good players on the team. For me, I’ve been through it. So it’s just a day-by-day process, and I think just having the mindset to just take it one day at a time, you never know when your number is going to be called. I think just staying in shape and staying ready is all I can do and just try to put my best foot forward when my number is called.”

Head coach Gerard Gallant opted to deploy McKegg in the Dec. 15 game with the Coyotes, when Filip Chytil was a healthy scratch. Entering Friday, McKegg has now skated in the past three games, drawing into the lineup again against the Golden Knights two weeks ago, when Artemi Panarin was held out because of a minor lower-body injury, and Wednesday’s loss to the Panthers with Kevin Rooney in COVID-19 protocol.

“I had Kegger before in Florida, and he’s one of those guys that can play any position,” Gallant said. “He fills those roles. He doesn’t say a word when he’s not playing. He works hard every day, character guy, guys love him on our team and he’s a good veteran guy. He’s very trustable and you know what you’re going to get from him every night.”


The Rangers rolled with the same lineup Friday against the Lightning as the 4-3 loss to the Panthers earlier in the week, with goalie Igor Shesterkin earning the starting nod.