New York Rangers target Jordan Martinook heading for free agency; is Casey Cizikas next?

The Rangers lost Jesper Fast to the Carolina Hurricanes thanks to cap concerns and a youth movement. Just one full season later, it looks like the roles may reverse and a key member of their team is headed to free agency.

Jordan Martinook headed to Free Agency

It looks like Jordan Martinook will become an unrestricted free agent on July 28th.

Looks like there will be some churn among Carolina’s depth forwards. Jordan Martinook wants to see if he can beat the Hurricanes’ offer on the open market, and there are Warren Foegele trade talks. Both player and team appear to want a change.

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The Carolina Hurricanes forward was identified early on as a perfect UFA target for the Rangers to revamp their bottom six. “We’ve got to get to a place where when you jump over the boards you know what your role is,” Chris Drury said about his vision for the team next season. If he wants a role player, Martinook is a good candidate.

new york rangers free agency
Apr 20, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Barclay Goodrow (19) and Carolina Hurricanes left wing Jordan Martinook (48) fight during the second period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Martinook turns 29 in July so term is a concern, but not a deal breaker if he wants something along the lines of five years. His style of play is perfect for third or fourth line duties, and would be the start of the Rangers very own identity line. At 6-1 and 204 lbs, he’s an irritating in-your-face style of player that can chip in some occasional offense.

This past season, he had 13 points in 43 games and is coming off a deal paying $2 million. If the Rangers can get him at under $3 million AAV, it would be a great get for Drury.

Casey Cizikas likely headed to free agency

The Islanders will be an interesting team this offseason with only around $5 million in cap space. This summer they must re-sign RFA’s Ilya Sorokin, Anthony Beauvillier and Adam Pelech above all UFAs. Lou Lamoriello stated this morning that he is going to get them all done. The back-to-back GM of the Year winner also noted that he expects it will be difficult to bring all his players back next season.

Unrestricted free agents Kyle Palmieri and Casey Cizikas being at the top of that list for the Islanders. Both want to stay, and Lamoriello would like to bring both back, but that’s going to be difficult.

Cizikas is similar to Martinook in age at 30 years-old. So a five year deal shouldn’t scare the Rangers away. He’s coming off a deal that paid him $3.35 million and in line for a raise. The question is simple, is a fourth line center worth that much money? Traditionally, I would say no. However, being strong down the middle is one reason why the Lightning and Canadiens are in the Stanley Cup Final.

His ability to win draws and score clutch goals makes him a more valuable piece than your average fourth liner.

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