Potential Rangers targets for 2023 Free Agent Frenzy
It’s literally Christmas in July for hockey fans as today marks the beginning of Free Agent Frenzy with the mayhem to commence at 12:00 pm et.
The New York Rangers are not expected to be big players when the bell rings because of limited cap space ($11.7 million) and two key RFA’s to re-sign in K’Andre Miller and Alexis Lafreniere.
One signing that is expected to happen per multiple reports is veteran goaltender Jonathan Quick, who will back up Igor Shesterkin for the 2023-24 campaign.
On Friday, a wrinkle to the entire free agent field occurred when over 100 players were added to the list via buyouts or restricted free agents not receiving qualifying offers.
Let’s take a look at some potentially low-cost targets the Blueshirts may be able to pick up on a 1 to 2 year deal.
New York Rangers free agent targets
Nick Bjugstad, C
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 the Rangers would love. He’s coming off a 1-year deal with a $900K AAV, but will likely command just a little more than the Rangers may be willing to spend.
Garnet Hathaway, RW
Hathaway, 31, recorded 13 goals and 9 assists for 22 points in 84 games this past season. He began last year with the Washington Capitals before being dealt to the Boston Bruins near the trade deadline along with defenseman Dmitry Orlov. His friendship with Chris Kreider and relationship with new head coach Peter Laviolette could factor in his decision.
Kailer Yamamoto, RW
Yamamoto, 24, is one of those surprise late adds to the UFA list after being traded to the Detroit Red Wings and immediately bought out. For his young career spanning parts of six seasons, he’s registered 50 goals and 68 assists for 118 points in 244 games. If he’s willing to take a low one-year “show me” deal, this former first-rounder could cash in big time next season when the cap jumps by $4 million.
Daniel Sprong, RW
Sprong, 26, is another late entry as the Seattle Kraken did not tender him a qualifying offer. Last season, he registered 21 goals and 46 points in 66 games on a one-year deal worth only $750K. He’s a winger with size (6-0′, 202 lbs) and I believe the Rangers are looking closely at him. Sprong briefly played for Laviolette on the Capitals in 2021-22.
Christian Fischer, RW
Fischer, 26, was also not qualified and would make a great add. The Arizona Coyotes opted to let him walk after his deal with a $1.125M AAV expired. A physical winger that has the size (6-2′, 212 lbs) to back up his play, he scored 13 goals and 27 points in 80 games last year.
Morgan Geekie, F
The Kraken shockingly did not qualify Geekie as well on Friday. At 24 years of age, who’s a healthy 6-3′ and 200 lbs, he’s a promising young forward that can play center. Geekie is coming off a one-year deal with a $1.4M AAV. Last season, he recorded 28 points in 69 matches.
Callan Foote, D
Foote, 24, registered 7 points in 50 games for the Nashville Predators, who opted not to qualify him. This former 14th overall selection in the draft is a right handed shot defender with size at 6-5′ and 224 lbs. His dad, Adam Foote was a former NHL defenseman that won two Stanley Cups with the Colorado Avalanche. Callan came in at $850K against the cap in 2022-23.
Jimmy Schuldt, D
According to Mollie Walker of the NY Post, this left-handed defender is of interest to the Blueshirts. Schuldt, 28, has only played in one NHL game for the Vegas Golden Knights in 2018-19 registering an assist. He’s an AHL player that GM Chris Drury could easily add on a two-way contract.