January 2, 2020; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilesvskiy (88) makes a save past Montreal Canadiens forward Phillip Danault (24) with help from defenseman Victor Hedman (77) during the second period at the Bell Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
NHL Free Agency is less than a day away. Teams can officially start signing free agents at 12 p.m. ET. Chris Drury is expected to announce that they have signed veteran defenseman Patrik Nemeth to a 3-year contract worth around $2.5 million AAV by Larry Brooks. He was one of several defenders we targeted on our initial roster here.
Rangers currently have plenty of room to play but also need to sign Igor Shesterkin, Filip Chytil and Libor Hajek from RFA. There’s also the possibility of trades that will impact what the blueshirts do.
Here’s our updated Rangers running list detailed by position, age and last contract.
New York Rangers are likely UFA targets
When Rangers swapped the rights to Barclay Goodrow and then signed him to a six-year contract with a $3.6 million AAV, they gave you a clear indication of the type of players they are looking for. I expect, even if they make a trade for a center, that these names will always be considered.
Jordan Martinook (Forward – 29 years old – 2M$ AAV): Martinook is a ferocious forechecker and a physical player who refuses to back down. In 2018-19, he recorded 199 hits to go along with 46 blocks playing in the Hurricanes’ 82 games. The guy is also vocal in the locker room, loved by his teammates, and also wears a letter on his sweater. If Rangers could get him with a small raise from his last contract, he would be a great fourth line.
Nick Ritchie (Forward – 25 years old – VA of $1.5M): This last season was good so far UFA 25 years as he scored 26 points in 56 games for Boston. He is seen as a quality third line player who should be recovered fairly quickly.
Ryan Getzlaf (Center – 36 – $8.25M VTA): He’s getting up there in age but is a proven winner. Getzlaf will also be coming out of the final year of a big $8.25 million contract. The 6’4″ center has scored just 18 points in 48 games. He could be a cheap addition for Rangers as a fourth-row center who could move on if injured.
Luke Glendening (Center – 32 – $1.8M AAV): Offensively, 32-year-old Glendening won’t add much, but that’s not why you’d sign him. For his career, he has a winning FO% of 54.8 and is undoubtedly a specialist.
Rangers could aim higher with these players
If Rangers don’t land a center like Jack Eichel or, to a lesser extent, Evgeny Kuznetsov, they could spend the money on more prominent named free agents.
Phillip Danault (Center – 28 years old – $3M AAV): Would you spend more than $6 million on a third line center? What if Chris Drury saw him as a 2nd line pivot? During the regular season, he amassed a respectable 24 points in 53 games. His 52.5 faceoff percentage shows his consistency and efficiency in scoring. For his career, he wins 53.8% of the draws he makes. It is a closed center which is respectable offensively.
Casey Cizikas (Center – 30 – $3.35M VTA): The Islanders’ “Identity Line” center will be a free agent that many teams will target; unless Lou Lamoriello has already signed him to a deal. He won ties and scored decisive goals in the playoffs. Cizikas isn’t physically imposing at 5-11 and 195 pounds but he plays so much bigger than his size.
Blake Coleman (Center – 29 – VA $1.8M): The center-turned-winger himself had a great season for the Tampa Bay Lightning with 31 points in 55 games. At 5-foot-11 and 200 pounds, he’s a solid forward who’s aggressive with the puck and strikes with determination. This season, he’s racked up 109 hits, but he’s been known to throw his body a lot more. Here’s the rub, he’s looking for a massive new contract in the 6-year range at around $5 million AAV.
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