Lee Stempniak is basically already a Golden Knight. Stempniak, a career journeyman, has played for 10 NHL franchises, including a short stint with the Rangers. He has appeared in 872 career games, scoring 200 goals and notching 260 assists. The only issue is that he is approaching 35 and could be on a downswing.
Stempniak is going to be exposed by the Carolina Hurricanes who are trying to get younger and faster. Stempniak has plenty of speed, but it would not be a big loss for Carolina to see him go to Vegas. He’s replaceable.
The Rangers have signed their fair share of replaceable bottom six players over the last few years. Josh Jooris is the most recent. However, Stempniak is not just a replacement level bottom six forward, even if he seems it.
Stempniak fits back into Alain Vigneault’s fast Rangers system in the same way he fit in 2014. He’s small and mirrors a bottom six Mats Zuccarello type winger. He has a rocket of a shot and can play in the dirty areas of the ice.
If the Rangers acquire Stempniak only to expose him, even better. The Rangers can offer Stempniak to the Golden Knights for the Golden Knights picking Nick Holden or Kevin Klein in the expansion draft.
The Rangers should be considering acquiring Stempniak, even if it’s just to dangle for Vegas to acquire.