Former Rangers forward signs with Metropolitan Division rival

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Rangers at Florida Panthers
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Jack Roslovic’s tour of the Metropolitan Division will include a third stop next season. The former New York Rangers forward, who previously played for the Columbus Blue Jackets, signed a one-year, $2.8 million contract with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Roslovic took a considerable pay cut after waiting several days from the start of free agency to finally land a deal. The 27-year-old was coming off a two-year, $8 million contract with an average annual value of $4 million, that he signed with the Blue Jackets on June 7, 2022.

Though he’s been inconsistent throughout his career and saw his production with New York and Columbus drop last season, Carolina could use Roslovic in a top-six role next season.

“Jack is a dynamic player who has been an offensive contributor for his entire career,” Hurricanes general manager Eric Tulsky said. “Adding another right-handed playmaker capable of injecting speed and skill into the lineup will provide a boost to our forward group.”

Roslovic’s potential has never lived up to his actual production, as the Rangers found out this past season. He’s scored more than 20 goals once in seven NHL seasons with the Rangers, Blue Jackets and Winnipeg Jets (22 with the Blues Jackets in 2021-22) and never more than 12 in any other season.

The Rangers acquired Roslovic before the 2024 NHL trade deadline and he had eight points (three goals, five assists) in 19 games. Playing primarily as the top line right wing alongside Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider, Roslovic never took hold of the opportunity.

Roslovic got off to a fast start in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with one point in each of the first five games, including a pair of power-play goals in the first round against the Washington Capitals. He had three assists the rest of the postseason, including two in the decisive Game 6 of the second round against the Hurricanes.

By time the Rangers were eliminated in six games by the Florida Panthers in the Eastern Conference Final, Roslovic was on the fourth line. He finished with eight points (two goals, six assists) in 16 postseason games.

Related: Analytics cast doubt about Reilly Smith’s success with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider

Jack Roslovic departs Rangers to sign with Hurricanes

NHL: New Jersey Devils at New York Rangers
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers did not appear to make a serious attempt to re-sign Roslovic. In fact, their biggest goal this offseason was to find a better fit with Zibanejad and Kreider. Ultimately, the Blueshirts traded for veteran forward Reilly Smith, acquiring the 33-year-old from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Smith is sure to get a chance on the right side of the top line. And youngsters Brennan Othmann and Will Cuylle could get a look too in training camp. Don’t discount Kaapo Kakko getting another chance either.

Roslovic will be a top-nine, and possible top-six, forward in Carolina. He joins William Carrier, Tyson Jost and Eric Robinson as middle-six forwards signed by the Hurricanes in free agency. Carolina lost forward Teuvo Teravainen, who signed with the Chicago Blackhawks. And restricted free agent Martin Necas filed for arbitration and reportedly is seeking a trade out of Carolina.

The Hurricanes also lost two key defensemen in Brett Pesce, who signed with the New Jersey Devils, and former Blueshirt Brady Skjei, who signed with the Nashville Predators. To fill those holes, Carolina signed free agents Shayne Gostisbehere and Sean Walker.

Now, Carolina’s latest move is signing Roslovic, who combined for nine goals and 31 points in 59 games with the Rangers and Blue Jackets last season and blew a chance at a significant contract when he failed to produce with two star linemates in New York.

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny

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