New York Rangers: Grading the David Desharnais Signing

ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 10: David Desharnais
ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 10: David Desharnais /
ANAHEIM, CA – MAY 10: David Desharnais
ANAHEIM, CA – MAY 10: David Desharnais /

The Rangers took the first step in replenishing their center’s with the signing of veteran David Desharnais.

The New York Rangers had two holes to plug in the middle of the ice after trading Derek Stepan and losing Oscar Lindberg in the expansion draft. Insert Desharnais and one hole seems to have been filled.

The soon to be 31 year-old signed a 1-year, $1 million deal with the Rangers and should presumably slot in as the team’s fourth line center. The deal is by no means flashy and Desharnais won’t suddenly make the Rangers the best team in the league. However, for New York it was a step in the right direction.

Desharnais’ Value

Just looking down the list of stats for Desharnais, nothing will jump off the page. For a bottom six forward, his production has been respectable throughout his eight years in the league. Desharnais has averaged 31 points a season since he broke into the league in 2009. He is a moderate threat on special teams, though it’s doubtful he will have a role with the Rangers.

What Desharnais brings to the table for New York is another player who fits the mold of a depth forward with scoring upside. Currently, the fourth line for the Rangers would be Matt Puempel and Jesper Fast centered by Desharnais. As fourth lines go, that’s a solid option for New York (he has good comparable’s with third line centers) and Desharnais solidifies another quality bottom six line.

Another aspect, which always goes overlooked but should never be undervalued, is Desharnais’ face-off ability. Over his career, he has amassed a career winning percentage of 50.4%. Instantly he will add value to the face-off circle, an area where the Rangers have struggled.

Overall, Desharnais is a quality depth forward. He moves the puck well and can move well himself. Despite a knee injury that sidelined him for a good chunk of last year, the center should still provide good minutes and skill.

Related Story: Rangers Sign Desharnais

Quality of Deal

This is where the Rangers really got a great deal. Sure Desharnais is a good player who will help the team, but to get him for just one year and only $1 million is fantastic. After making more than triple that with the Montreal Canadiens the last four seasons, the Rangers got a bargain.

Desharnais wasn’t going to be making multi-millions, but at the same time to keep the deal at $1 million means the Rangers not only get their depth center, but they also save cap space. Just looking at comparable deals this offseason, bottom six centers are getting considerably more money. Nick Bonino signed a four-year deal worth over $4 million a year. Granted Bonino is probably more talented than Desharnais, but he’s still slotting in as a bottom six player.

Maybe a more comparable player is Brian Boyle who signed a two year deal worth $5.1 million. Either way, Desharnais was a great signing at a great price and even if he doesn’t bounce back from last season, the signing won’t hurt the Rangers in any way.

Related Story: Rangers Need Top Center

The Verdict

The Rangers still need a top center, but the signing of Desharnais was a need as well. It is far easier to find a bottom six center as a replacement, but at the price and term the Rangers got Desharnais for, it is an incredible value.

The 30-year-old will provide depth, a nifty scoring touch and leadership to a young core of returning players. His skill and speed game should fit in with the Rangers overall style of play. Furthermore, baring any injuries, you can pencil Desharnais in for 30 to 40 points.

Next: Rangers Lack Trade Assests

Overall this is a B-plus signing with A upside. If Desharnais does nothing more than win face-offs and play a depth role with minimal scoring, it’s a good move for the Rangers. If he can add scoring as well, it’s a great move. The Rangers should be excited to see Desharnais on the ice this season.