If Rangers make moves quickly they could add center depth
The opening bell and frenzy of free agency has passed. All the big names have been signed and the players that remain are veterans waiting for teams to figure out where they are and getting the right deal.
As we’ve discussed here for over a week, the Rangers top priority is to sign Jacob Trouba longterm, make a trade or two, and buyout Brendan Smith. They need to do this to free up cap room and sign Pavel Buchnevich, Brendan Lemieux, and Tony DeAngelo.
Currently, there are a few veteran centers the Rangers could possibly land at a bargain. However, if the Rangers want to solidify the middle of the lineup, they will have to move quickly and free up a little more cap space than originally intended.
Let’s look at some possibilities:
Brian Boyle, 34
This former Ranger would provide this young forward group with veteran leadership. Much like Patrick Marleau for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Boyle could help shepherd this young group on the ice and more importantly, in the locker room.
Last season, Boyle scored 18 goals and 24 points between NJ and Nashville after defeating Leukemia. He is coming off a 2 year deal with a cap hit of $2.75M. The Rangers could add Boyle as a 4th line center who can move up to the 3rd line in a pinch for a similar deal with a lesser cap hit around $2 to $2.5M
Derick Brassard, 31
This former Rangers’ center’s production has been in decline ever since being traded to Ottawa for Mika Zibanejad. He’s coming off a bad season where he only scored 23 points in 70 games for 3 different teams. So another contract with a cap hit of $5M isn’t happening.
Rumors surfaced this week that 4 teams are interested in signing Brassard, but it still hasn’t happened. Matter of fact, the longer he goes unsigned the cheaper he will be. Brassard is looking primed for one of those 1 year, $1M show me contracts than any other remaining UFA center.
If the Rangers could get him on that, he would make a solid 3rd line center, with the potential to move up to 2nd if Filip Chytil struggles.
Oscar Lindberg, 27
Another former Ranger and someone I think would be a great fit on this team. Lindberg is coming off a 2 year deal worth $1.7M and the Rangers could sign him to a 2 year deal at a bargain less than that. Lindberg scored 20 points in 55 games between Vegas and Ottawa and would be a rock solid 4th line center.