New York Rangers UFA Target: Nick Bjugstad

The New York Rangers continue to perform their due diligence on a new head coach, and preparing for the NHL Entry Draft on June 28-29. In addition, they must also make sure that they maximize their limited cap space and fill out a contending roster.

Free agency returns to its normal date of July 1after dealing with the impact COVID had to the NHL’s schedule. Per PuckPedia, GM Chris Drury has $11,762,918 in cap space with 14 players from last season under contract. While a bulk of that will go to re-signing pending RFA’s Alexis Lafreniere and K’Andre Miller, there’s still some room to add a low-cost bottom six forward.

This offseason, Forever Blueshirts has been looking at some potentially low-cost options. We’ve already featured forwards Jesper Fast, Garnet Hathaway, and David Kampf, today we look at center Nick Bjugstad.

New York Rangers UFA Target: Nick Bjugstad

new york rangers trade deadline
Jan 17, 2023; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Arizona Coyotes center Nick Bjugstad (17) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal in a shootout against the Detroit Red Wings at Mullett Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Bjugstad, 28, recorded 17 goals and 12 assists for 29 points in 78 games this past season split between the Arizona Coyotes and Edmonton Oilers. He added 3 goals in 12 postseason games for the Oilers.

The hulk-sized center comes in at 6-6′ and 210 pounds which he uses well to throw his body around on the forecheck. More importantly for the Blueshirts, he can be a very affordable signing as a fourth line center. The native of Minneapolis, Minnesota concluded a one-year deal with an AAV of just $900,000 and a small increase should be enough to land him on the free agent market.

Due to the flat cap and the ceiling going up from $82.5 million to only $83.5, players like Bjugstad will likely sit around while the bigger name free agents get their money.

Originally drafted by the Florida Panthers 19th overall in 2010, he’s amassed 127 goals and 139 assists for 266 points in 618 games.

Bjugstad would be a great replacement if the Rangers opt to trade Barclay Goodrow and his $3.6 million cap hit this summer.