Have Rangers found their Barclay Goodrow replacement in NHL free agency?

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Arizona Coyotes
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

After Barclay Goodrow was claimed off waivers by the San Jose Sharks, the New York Rangers were left with a hole in the middle of their fourth line. The Rangers may have filled the doughnut in NHL free agency Monday, when they signed Sam Carrick.

The Fourth Period is reporting it’s a three-year contract with an average annual value of $1 million.

That certainly is an affordable deal, especially since Goodrow would’ve cost $3.6 million annually, also for the next three seasons.

Carrick has 240 games of NHL experience with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers. He has 53 points and 316 penalty minutes in that span, including NHL career highs in goals (11) and points (19) with the Ducks in 2021-22.

“He brings a hard element to our group,” Rangers general manager Chris Drury told reporters. “Our scouts had their eye on him for a while … He’s a natural center that brings some edge, some grit, certainly some toughness, as well, to our bottom six.”

The 32-year-old, who stands 6-feet tall and weighs 200 pounds, was traded by the Ducks to the Oilers ahead of the 2024 NHL trade deadline. He played in 10 postseason games this spring but none in the Stanley Cup Final, when the Oilers lost in seven games to the Florida Panthers.

Carrick combined for 10 goals and 16 points in 77 games with the Ducks and Oilers in 2023-24.

Related: 2024 NHL free agency live blog: latest Rangers news, rumors

Rangers’ options to replace Barclay Goodrow

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers
Jonny Brodzinski – Danny Wild-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Carrick is now the frontrunner to center the fourth line. But the Rangers do have other options to consider.

Jonny Brodzinski, who signed an affordable two-year contract extension last season, is the top internal candidate to battle Carrick for playing time, if the veteran is signed by the Rangers. Brodzinski is a favorite of coach Peter Laviolette, who appreciates his speed and two-way play.

Brodzinski is still in play for a fourth-line role or a spot as the 13th forward even with the Carrick signing. He started this past season with the Hartford Wolf Pack in the American Hockey League, where the 31-year-old was captain, and then scored an NHL career-high six goals and had 19 points in 57 games with the Rangers.

Jake Leschyshyn, who played the entire seasons in Hartford but has NHL experience with the Rangers and Vegas Golden Knights, is another fourth-line center option. And Adam Sykora could get a look in training camp, though the 19-year-old who played in Hartford this past season, appears to be more of an option down the road.

Carrick is one of two forwards added to the Rangers roster Monday. Reilly Smith was acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins for two draft picks.

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny

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