Arron Asham had no illusions entering training camp.

“I came in knowing that it would be do or die” said the 35-year-old winger who will join the Rangers’ lineup for Monday’s game against the Kings after having been a healthy scratch for the opener in Phoenix. “I wanted to show that I could contribute to this team this year but I also want to prove that I can play in the league next year.”

Asham had a strong camp after clearing waivers in late June. He is one of the few Rangers who play a bruising style. That’s why he’ll be on the fourth line with Dominic Moore and Derek Dorsett against the Kings and also against the Sharks on Tuesday while the more finesse-oriented Jesper Fast will take a seat for at least the next two games.

“We’re playing one of the biggest teams in the NHL [on Monday] a team that rolls four lines has size up front and on defense and uses its size” coach Alain Vigneault said following practice. “The Sharks are a big team too.

“Arron is one of our most physical players so he’s going to be in for both of these games.”

Asham came into camp on the outside looking in at the depth chart after having cleared waivers in late June. But he had a strong preseason to earn a spot on the club.

“I’m one of those players who was on the edge of not making the team and I know that” the 13-year NHL veteran said. “I want to play well and extend my career.”

Asham who joined the Rangers last year after signing a two-year deal worth $2 million somehow never could ingratiate himself with John Tortorella. The then-coach scratched No. 45 intermittently during the season even when it seemed unwarranted before sitting him out of the final two games of the Boston playoff series in favor of minor leaguer Micheal Haley.

“It was definitely frustrating but I wasn’t going to complain or voice my opinion” Asham said. “We were trying to win hockey games so I kept my opinion to myself.

“Now it’s exciting to be able to show the new coaching staff what I can do. I know I was on track to be one of the guys to be sent down so I wanted to prove to [Vigneault] that I belonged here.”

Vigneault said that he not only recognized Asham’s desperation but had a conversation about it with the winger.

“Arron and I had a discussion before camp started and I told him he at the point of his career where was fighting to stay in the NHL” the coach said. “He went through waivers so that means that 30 teams passed on him.”