Step 4: Sign Kevin Shattenkirk, re-sign Brendan Smith
There are three things that absolutely need to happen for this offseason to be considered even a mild success. The first thing is getting out from under either Dan Girardi or Marc Staal’s contract. After that, it is imperative that the Rangers bring New York native Kevin Shattenkirk into the fold, while also re-signing gritty defender Brendan Smith.
Kevin Shattenkirk is going to cost a pretty penny. An offensive defenseman of his caliber becoming an unrestricted free agent is gonna get paid, and the Rangers know that they need to do so after letting Keith Yandle get away.
Shattenkirk is the power play quarterback that has long eluded the Blueshirts. Shattenkirk tallied 13 goals and 43 assists this season, splitting his time between St. Louis and Washington. They will probably need to pay him $6.5 million over six or seven years. It’s an overpay, but it’s a justified one.
Brendan Smith can be had for a much cheaper price, but his signing might be just as important. Smith proved to be as steady as they come this postseason. The pairing of Smith and Brady Skjei was the team’s best by far, even if coach Alain Vigneault didn’t feel that way. The 28-year-old gave the Rangers some added toughness to their lineup it rubbed off on the other players.
Plus, before the Rangers are done in free agency, they will most likely need to find a replacement for Antti Raanta. A guy like Darcy Kuemper could be a good fit. Kuemper had his worst statistical season to date with Minnesota last season, posting an 8-5 record to go along with a 3.13 goals against average and a .903 save percentage. With that said, at 27-years-old, he is certainly capable of a bounce back.
Also, a guy like Tommy Wingels could be a good depth signing to fill in for Jesper Fast on the fourth line until he comes back from his injury.