New York Rangers UFA Target: Jesper Fast

The New York Rangers have very little cap space to venture out on the free agent market for a big fish. However, this team already has enough whales so bolstering the bottom-six with a quality and inexpensive veteran forward is likely the best way to go.

Bringing in such a player would also allow for Kaapo Kakko to move up into the top-six and possibly make trading Barclay Goodrow easier to digest. The Rangers need to re-sign RFAs Alexis Lafreniere and K’Andre Miller this offseason and moving Goodrow’s $3.6 million cap hit may be the best way to do it.

That’s why signing Jesper Fast might make the most sense come July 1.

Related: Predicting contract for RFAs Alexis Lafreniere and K’Andre Miller

New York Rangers UFA Target: Jesper Fast

NHL: New York Rangers at Carolina Hurricanes
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Fast, 31, notched 10 goals and 19 assists for 29 points in 80 games this past season for the Carolina Hurricanes. He was even better in the playoffs with 6 goals and 3 assists for 9 points in 15 matches. It was his OT goal that eliminated the New Jersey Devils to get the Canes to the Conference Final where they were swept by the red-hot Florida Panthers.

Fast left the Blueshirts for the Hurricanes via free agency back in 2020 during the heat of the rebuild. We reported back at the time, that the window had closed between the two parties and he was heading to the open market. Additional rumblings noted that Fast was looking for multi-year deal close to $4 million per season, but the Rangers were not interested.

There were also rumors that prior to Fast signing with the Canes, the Rangers were willing to give him two-years at $2 million AAV. Ultimately, Carolina gave him an extra year at that same AAV.

 “I want a good deal for myself and the Rangers obviously want a deal that is fair to them,” Fast told Swedish outlet Sverige during negotiations. “I hope we come to an agreement. If not, I will test the market.”

Business is business and there should be no hard feelings. No one should ever a fault a player for wanting more money considering how brief their careers can be or how quickly it can end with an injury.

Fast registered 155 points in 7 seasons with the Rangers and was a beloved teammate what won the coveted Players’ Player Award five straight times (2015-16 – 2019-20). He’s still an excellent two-way forward that would automatically make the Rangers overall defense and PK better.

Related: Check out our predictions for New York Rangers UFAs this summer including Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko

What would Jesper Fast cost?

The New York Rangers have $11,762,918 per PuckPedia, and only 14 players from last season under contract.

Teams and players across the league are dealing with the financial repercussions of the pandemic which shortened two seasons and had games played without fans. The salary cap has risen a mere $1 million ($81.5M to $82.5M) since 2020. Current projections estimate another $1 million increase with a hope of it going to $2 million ($83.5M or $84.5M) depending on additional negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA.

Bottom line is GM Chris Drury will need to stretch every dollar and it’s possible a reunion with their former 2010 sixth-round pick is in the cards. If the Rangers could sign Fast to a multi-year deal for $1.5 million, it would be a big win for both parties.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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