The New York Rangers are known for always making a big roster splash every season. Either by trade at the deadline or a big UFA signing, they usually make news. While they made massive changes to the front office and a coaching change, no big-named player was added.
The Blueshirts last made noise like that in 2019. They traded for defenseman Jacob Trouba and signed Artemi Panarin in free agency. Since then it has been fairly quiet, although the talk of a Jack Eichel trade continues to follow the team around like a rain cloud.
Whether that cloud passes over or pours all over MSG remains to be seen, but if this offseason is any indication of where the Rangers are at, there appears to be a paradigm shift going on.
That change in approach is about adding the final pieces to a championship puzzle and Barclay Goodrow could be just that.
Rangers key offseason acquisition: Barclay Goodrow
Goodrow was basically a run-of-the-mill bottom six forward for the San Jose Sharks when he broke into the NHL at 21 years of age in 2014-15. In 60 games, he registered 12 points while averaging just 11:04 a night. Then Goodrow spent over two seasons just trying to get into the lineup.
From 2015-16 to 2017-18 he played a total of 64 out of San Jose’s 246 games. He registered a grand total of 17 points in those contests while barely playing 11 minutes a game. Goodrow finally earned a full-time role at the age of 25, getting into all 82 games for the Sharks. Playing a hard-nosed style he put up 17 points while being a key face-off man winning 53.7% of his draws. More importantly he was physical, racking up 125 hits and 68 blocks.
Those efforts didn’t go unnoticed as the Tampa Bay Lightning identified him at the 2019-20 trade deadline and made sure to pry him from San Jose. GM Julien Brisebois valued what Goodrow could do so highly he sent a first round pick and Anthony Greco to get him.
It paid off.
Goodrow played a key role for Tampa as they won back-to-back Stanley Cups. It was later revealed that the gritty forward played much of the last playoffs with a broken hand. Yet he was out there, blocking shots, and killing key minutes late in games.
So just like BriseBois before him, Chris Drury saw the same things and knew he had to have him.
When the Lightning GM sent out a text to the league that Goodrow’s rights were available, Drury jumped on it. He sent over a 7th round pick and signed the 28 year-old to a six-year deal with a $3.6M AAV.
Barclay Goodrow will change how the Rangers play and how others play against them
“He’s a guy that we targeted and obviously went out and made a deal with Tampa early to get a jump on it,” Drury said of Goodrow via NHL.com. “I think he’s pretty versatile. I could see him do all different things for Gerard (Gallant), whether that’s more time in the middle, whether it’s face-offs in the d-zone. But we think he’s got a pretty complete game. He’s going be able to help a lot of different areas.”
Adding Goodrow not only strengthened the team’s bottom six, it diversified the way they will play. The additions of Sammy Blais and Ryan Reaves further speak to that. When the top two lines jump over the boards, teams will scurry to get their defensive specialists out there. When the opposition sends out their top lines, they are likely to be met with a lot more crash and bang than they are used to playing the Blueshirts. This revamped roster fits perfectly with what Gerard Gallant likes to do.
“I’m an in-your-face type of player. I play hard, I’m more of a straight line player and I like to be counted on in defensive situations, like the PK or shutting down a top line,” Goodrow explained of his play. “I like to stick up for my teammates whenever need be. Just be a guy who can go up and down the lineup playing wing or center. Wherever the team needs me.”
Goodrow can also pack a little offensive punch. No, he won’t replace what the Rangers lost in Pavel Buchnevich, that’s the job of Kaapo Kakko, and also Alexis Lafrenière. However for a third-liner, Goodrow over the last two seasons has averaged .37 points per game and 1.26 points per 60 minutes at even strength. That should account for about 30-35 points this season.
Still, the Rangers did not bring him in for just points but to be that voice in the room. Goodrow is no rookie, he is now a veteran fresh off two Stanley Cups. When things get tough and he starts talking, he will capture everyone’s ears from Vitali Kravtsov to Artemi Panarin.
He’s not your typical game-changer, but he is one nonetheless. Obviously one that Drury and Gallant wanted badly. A new brand of Rangers hockey is coming, and Goodrow will be a big part of that.
Get the latest rumors over the last week. From Jack Eichel to Zdeno Chara, read it all here.