With July 1st quickly approaching, this means the start of NHL Free Agency. While there aren’t as many big names available as there have been in recent years, there are still players that can help bring a team closer to winning it all. For the Rangers, they have their own restricted free agents to deal with, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be looking at the free-agent list and seeing who might be a good fit for the team moving forward. One player that stands out is Garnet Hathaway.
He split last season with the Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins and is now going into free agency for the second time in his career. The Rangers should definitely be targeting him because of the style he plays and the connection he already has here in New York.
The connection he already has established with the Rangers is that he played the last three years under their new head coach, Peter Laviolette. If anyone knows what he would bring to the Rangers, it’s the head coach. He coached Hathaway in Washington and it led to some of the best hockey he has played so far in his NHL career. He set a career-high in goals and points during the 2021-22 season with 14 goals and 29 points.
While Hathaway is not known for his offensive game, it shows that Laviolette can bring out the best of him when he is played in the right role with the right linemates. If Laviolette has a strong say in who the Rangers bring in this summer, Hathaway is going to be very high on that list.
When talking about the kind of game Hathaway plays, it’s one that the Rangers lack. He gives it his all every shift and he is not shy about stepping up to the opposition when he needs to. He blocks shots, he lays hits and he can provide some offense when necessary. He is the perfect package for what the Rangers should want from their bottom six going forward. This team showed absolutely so much heart and went out sad against the Devils.
Hathaway is the complete opposite and he has heart in every game he plays. He is the player you want on the shut-down line and he played that role well in Washington when Laviolette had him on a line with Nic Dowd and Carl Hagelin. They were a great line together and if the Rangers can find that with him, it would make his signing even better.
Speaking of his next contract, what could he make on his next deal? He is coming off a four-year deal that paid him $1.5 million per year. If teams are going to overpay, the Rangers might have to pay him in the range of $2.5-2.75 million per year on a three-year deal. If this were the case, they may have to trade Barclay Goodrow just to make sure they have enough money to sign their RFAs.
If the Rangers can get him on a deal for around $2.5 million, they should sign that deal immediately.
While Hathaway isn’t a big-name player, he is a player you bring in when you need change. The Rangers need change after the pathetic showing they had and he is the player they need. He has all the heart and character and would be a massive boost to the locker room. If he is still available to sign on July 1st, he should be a top target for the Rangers.