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There is no way around it. If, as expected, Sammy Blais is down for an extended period after becoming the latest to fall prey to the state-endorsed menace wearing No. 76 for the Devils, his absence will represent a significant blow to the Rangers.
Though Blais in so many ways is still a blank slate, the 25-year-old acquired from St. Louis in the exchange for Pavel Buchnevich had become a vital part of the operation. He brought a Black-and-Blueshirt work ethos to the rink, used his body with purpose and showed the affinity for being a complementary top-six winger.
The Rangers are thin enough at the top when fully healthy. The inability of Alexis Lafreniere to secure a top-six spot upended all of the depth charts and created a hole in the equation. And the upper-body injury sustained by Filip Chytil that has sidelined him for the past three games has had a trickle-up effect.
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