New York Rangers going for it all after free agency moves

The New York Rangers have in essence finished what they wanted to accomplish in free agency. Looking back, the moves for next season’s lineup really began with signing RFA Vitali Kravtsov to a one-year, one-way extension.

Instead of trying to find ways to keep Ryan Strome, or any of the key trade deadline acquisitions (Andrew Copp, Frank Vatrano, Tyler Motte, and Justin Braun), Chris Drury then made sure to get fellow RFA’s Sammy Blais, Julien Gauthier and even Libor Hajek under contract.

All of those players are low cost signings that can help in replacing those unrestricted free agents. Drury was limited in his options knowing that cap space was going to be limited next season with the new contracts of Mika Zibanejad ($8.5M AAV) and Adam Fox ($9.5M) kicking in.

Instead, Drury wanted to ensure an upgrade a second line center and by signing Vincent Trocheck he accomplished that mission.

“It’s an important part of any hockey team and it’s a hole we wanted to address,” Drury said. “Just excited to have Vincent on board. He’s a real good player, does a lot of different things. We’re excited to have him.”

Let’s dive into the Rangers 2022 Free Agency Moves.

Recapping New York Rangers free agency

VINCENT TROCHECK
May 10, 2022; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck (16) celebrates his empty net goal against the Boston Bruins during the third period in game five of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Blueshirts currently have around $4.8 million in cap space per CapFriendly. That number is expected to be around $2.8M or $2.5M after Kaapo Kakko signs his bridge deal. It’s important to note that Drury wants to maintain some cap space in order to add a key piece during the season. Both Patrick Kane and J.T. Miller are expected to be traded by the next NHL Trade Deadline.

Two important moves that can be categorized as addition by subtraction was trading goalie Alexandar Georgiev and defenseman Patrik Nemeth.

Georgiev was moved to the Colorado Avalanche for three draft picks instead of losing him for nothing. He was due a $2.65M qualifying offer that New York was never going to give and consequently make him a UFA.

The Rangers used some of that money to sign Jaroslav Halak to a one-year deal at $1.55M to back up Igor Shesterkin. They also wisely signed Louis Domingue for two years at an AAV of $775K as an insurance policy.

Halak, 37, posted a 4-7-2 record in a limited role with the Vancouver Canucks last season. The key stats were his .903 SV% and 2.94 GAA in limited action behind Thatcher Demko.

Domingue, 30, has a record of 59-60-10 in 142 career appearances. His GAA of 3.04 and SV% of .905 are also respectable for a backup. His entire cap hit can be buried in the AHL where he’s likely to start the season with the Hartford Wolf Pack.

The Rangers ability to trade Nemeth and his full $2.5M cap hit for two years to the Arizona Coyotes along with two picks gave them the much needed extra cap space to sign Vincent Trocheck and depth center Ryan Carpenter.

Trocheck, 29, registered 21 goals and 51 points with the Carolina Hurricanes last season. He is a two-way player that is built to succeed in the playoffs. His signing came at a steep cost, more so in term (7 years) than in money ($5.625M AAV).

“This was one of just a few teams that we really looked at and thought it was a good fit,” Trocheck said. “Coming in we knew that New York was probably our No. 1 choice, and when they came today it was an easy decision. 

Carpenter, 31, registered 12 points in 67 games split between the Chicago Blackhawks (59) and Calgary Flames (8). His one-year contract is for $750K, which can also be completely buried in the AHL if needed.

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