Three Bargain Unrestricted Free Agent Targets for the New York Rangers

Chris Drury, NY Rangers (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Chris Drury, NY Rangers (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 15: Ryan Lindgren #55 of the New York Rangers and Craig Smith #12 of the Boston Bruins battle along the boards at Madison Square Garden on February 15, 2022, in New York City. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 15: Ryan Lindgren #55 of the New York Rangers and Craig Smith #12 of the Boston Bruins battle along the boards at Madison Square Garden on February 15, 2022, in New York City. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

Craig Smith

For someone who has been in the league as long as he has, Craig Smith has has a lot of ups and downs. This most recent season was clearly a down point in the career of the 33-year-old winger. Injuries and diminished production have raised some concerns that age is catching up with the former 4th round pick of the Nashville Predators. Whether there is anything left with Smith is going to be the gamble teams need to take this summer.

Before you go screaming at me for being dumb and stupid on Twitter, let me explain. A lot of people will note that Smith was used by the Boston Bruins as a makeweight in the deal that sent Dimitry Orlov north to Beantown and that is because of his poor production in Boston. While this is true, there were a lot of Bruins forwards that did not live up to expectations in the phenomenal year they had.

What makes Smith a good candidate to bet on is that upon arriving in Washington, he had 5 goals and an assist for 6 points in the 22 games he was there. That’s just under a 20-goal pace over 82 games. There’s clearly something still there when it comes to production, it just didn’t work in Boston. If the Rangers are able to get him going on a line with Kreider or Panarin, suddenly this top six looks a lot more scary.

At the age of 33, there are concerns which is why this should not be a player that receives a long-term big deal. If this is a one-year contract in the neighborhood of $1 million, this could be a good value contract. There’s a lot of risk with this, but if you get a player that can contribute like Smith can, then you can also find a good value deal for a team that is absolutely desperate for short-term cheap deals.