Rangers send rookie D Gilroy to Hartford of AHL

Rangers rookie defenseman Matt Gilroy is heading to the minor

leagues for the first time.

Gilroy, last season’s Hobey Baker winner as college player of

the year, was the surprising choice to be sent to Hartford of the

AHL on Thursday. He is second among NHL rookie defensemen with four

goals and is tied for seventh with six points in 30 games.

He has gone four games without a point and was on the ice for

both Blackhawks goals in New York’s 2-1 overtime loss at Chicago on

Wednesday night. The Rangers decided to keep Finnish rookie Ilkka

Heikkinen on the roster instead.

The 25-year-old Gilroy, who starred at Boston University, signed

a two-year, $3.5 million deal with the Rangers in the spring. His

demotion gives New York space under the salary cap.

The Rangers also recalled goalie Matt Zaba from Hartford to back

up Henrik Lundqvist, and sent down goalie Chad Johnson. Johnson

didn’t play after being recalled earlier this month.