Recapping Day One of Free Agency for the New York Rangers

Apr 1, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Reilly Smith (19) skates against the New York Rangers during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 1, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Reilly Smith (19) skates against the New York Rangers during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports / Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports
facebooktwitterreddit

NHL free agency has begun and many top names have been flying off the boards. The Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks are two of several teams who have made monster moves to begin the free agency frenzy. On the other hand, the New York Rangers have been relatively quiet. 

Heading into free agency the Blueshirts had 12.8 million dollars in cap room to spend. That kind of money is not a lot, but it is enough to sign a few solid players to impact the roster significantly.

There were a few top players I wanted the Rangers to target such as Patrick Kane, Tyler Bertuzzi, and Tyler Toffoli, however, all three players have been signed by other teams. Instead, the Rangers signed center Sam Carrick for three years worth three million dollars and traded a 2027 second-round pick and a conditional 2025 fifth-round pick to the Pittsburgh Penguins for winger Reilly Smith

Carrick and Smith may not be the home run signings many Rangers fans hoped for, but at least they made a few moves. Carrick will most likely fill the role that Barclay Goodrow played, just for a cheaper amount. Smith can be played up and down the lineup and has proven to be able to put the puck in the back of the net. Last year he tallied 13 goals and 27 assists in 76 games and in 13 years he has had five seasons with 20+ goals. The good news about Smith is the Rangers will only be paying 3.75 million dollars out of his 5 million dollar contract as the Penguins will be retaining 25% of it. 

After these two moves the Rangers have just over 8 million dollars of cap space left. They could clear another 8 million dollars if they can find a suitor for Jacob Trouba which would give them plenty of options going forward. 

Vladimir Tarasenko 

One of the best remaining free agents is Vladimir Tarasenko. The Rangers and Tarasenko could reunite after their short 2022-23 stint. If the Rangers could get him on the cheaper side, say around 3.5 million for one year then I think it would be a good fit. 

Notable Rangers Who Have Left In Free Agency

Alex Wennberg - San Jose Sharks (2 years 10 million dollars)

Erik Gustafsson - Detroit Red Wings (2 years 4 million dollars)