Before free agency began, I listed the following as the items the ones upon which the Rangers would have to spend their cap space prior to the season, either by signing or by trade:
- Re-sign Zibanejad
and FastUPDATE: Fast re-signed for 3 years at $1.85 million AAV Backup goaltender At least one defenseman, should be two, but could go up to three if Klein retires. Fourth line center
- Either a first line center, top six winger, or third line center, depending on how the team wants to deploy Zibanejad, Hayes, and Miller.
So far, the team has acquired Kevin Shattenkirk ($6.65 million AAV x 4 years), Ondrej Pavelec ($1.3 million x 1 year), and (
unofficially UPDATE: Desharnais signing has been made official) David Desharnais ($1 million x 1 year). Those three signings satisfy items 2, 3, and either 4 or 5, depending on how the team intends to deploy Desharnais. I imagine he is being brought in like Pirri to play on the fourth line with opportunity on the power play. Unlike Pirri, he is less of a shooter and more of a set up man. Great, just what we needed on the PP: more passers.
You can read my post from 7/2 to see what I think of Shattenkirk and Pavelec. The really short version is I really like the Shattenkirk signing and really hate the Pavelec signing.
I’m disappointed that we weren’t in on Nail Yakupov, who signed a one year deal with Colorado on short money. There are still some other fliers out there that I’d like to take. Mikhail Grigorenko is one, although there is an unconfirmed report that he’s signed a three year deal with CSKA Moscow. Alex Chiasson is still out there. Advanced stats darling Yohann Auvitu would also be an intriguing pickup for the AHL with the possibility of earning more in the NHL. Bringing back Viktor Stalberg would be a good move for the fourth line, and I know the Rangers like him as they tried to bring him back last year but couldn’t make the dollars work. Then there are guys like Jagr, Vanek, and Jussi Jokinen, who still have great hands but the legs are pretty much shot. On defense, there isn’t much else out there. Everyone is either a lefty or has a lot of baggage/question marks. Cody Franson would be my pick as far as a flier goes, simply because he’s the youngest of an old and//or slow lot of right handers. Dennis Wideman would probably be next, but seeing as how the NHL officials hate him and the team he plays for, he’s probably someone to avoid.
My guess is the Rangers will now focus on item #1 on the list at the top: re-signing Zibanejad and Fast. Once those two are locked up, they will be able to revisit the FA and trade markets with a better idea of their cap situation in the short and long terms.