One dream, one realistic, and one bargain player the NY Rangers must target in NHL free agency

The NY Rangers may not have much cap space to work with in NHL free agency, but it doesn’t mean they can land a dream player at a discount.
Tampa Bay Lightning v New York Rangers
Tampa Bay Lightning v New York Rangers / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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With roughly $11.11 million in cap space to work with and a few pending free agents that general manager Chris Drury would likely be interested in re-signing; you may think the NY Rangers may only go after discounted players in NHL free agency. To an extent, you would be correct, but that’s not the entire story. 

One reason is that even at lower prices, the Rangers could still bring in a worthy name who would do more than help this team fare even better in 2024-25. No, we aren’t talking about them signing a star player currently in the thick of their prime at a massive discount. But there’s plenty of talent out there who won’t seek such a large contract if it meant a legitimate chance of winning the Stanley Cup. 

To that end, the Rangers could have some negotiating power over other potential buyers in free agency, even if the latter could offer more money in the short term. Let’s check out three free agents - one dream caliber who would still go a little higher than normal, one realistic signing, and one bargain name who may go well below market value. 

Dream Free Agent: Steven Stamkos, C/Tampa Bay Lightning

Hey, I said we were rolling with a dream free agent and one at a potential discount if they weren’t in the middle of their prime, right? While it’s true Steven Stamkos’ previous contract sat at an AAV of $8.5 million, it’s something we can cut now that he’s entering the latter stages of his career. Stamkos earned just $6.5 million in total salary over the past two seasons, and it’s likely that number will dip even lower for his next contract. 

Another reason Stamkos is listed as the ‘dream free agent’ is that he’s most likely re-signing with the Tampa Bay Lightning. But until he signs a new and likely a reduced deal in Tampa, let’s keep our options open in the hope that he may look elsewhere to sign that more cost-effective contract. With the Rangers coming close to earning a trip to the Stanley Cup Final this season, they could be on his shortlist if he indeed tests the market.