Rangers Roundup: Day One Of Free Agency
Here are the latest rumblings around Rangerstown.
The Rangers didn’t make a lot of noise on the first day of NHL free agency, but they did re-sign C/W Vladislav Namestnikov to a two-year deal.
Year 1: $3.5M base salary plus $500k bonus; Year 2: $4M salary https://t.co/PrwXTT8wyU
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) July 1, 2018
The Rangers are hoping that Namestnikov can regain the level of play he had while in Tampa. Granted that he was playing on the same line as Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov, but he does have the talent to last in the NHL.
The Rangers made one UFA acquisition yesterday, signing former Senators defenseman Fredrik Claesson to a one-year deal. Claesson is a stay at home blue-liner that saw time playing alongside all-star defenseman Erik Karlsson.
Claesson, who will be 26 in November, is a no-frills, dependable D-man who played at times on a pair with Karlsson last year, and who performed well vs. #NYR in playoffs in '17. He's a 6-1, 200, lefty.
— Rick Carpiniello (@RickCarpiniello) July 1, 2018
This is a low-risk move by Gorton with the Rangers blue-line uncertain coming into training camp. Aside from Kevin Shattenkirk, Brady Skjei, and Marc Staal, the opening night defense corps is up in the air. Will Neal Pionk, Tony DeAngelo, or John Gilmour be able to extend their stay on Broadway? Will Brendan Smith have a good camp and get back to MSG? Time will tell, but bringing Claesson aboard gives the Rangers another NHL-level defenseman.
Rangers Alumni On The Move
There was plenty of action yesterday involving former Rangers heading to a new club for the 2018-19 season.
Michael Grabner, who the Rangers traded to the Devils at the deadline, signed a three-year contract with the Coyotes. Former Rangers teammate, and now current teammate, Derek Stepan welcomed Grabner in the most hockey way possible; by chirping him.
Former Rangers blue-liner John Moore signed a five-year contract with the Boston Bruins. A mobile defenseman, Moore will give the Bruins another great skating defenseman who knows how and when to jump into the play.
Adam Clendening, who spent 31 games on the ice for the Blueshirts, was signed by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Clendening’s roster spot won’t be guaranteed for John Tortorella’s club, but he could crack the opening night lineup as the team’s sixth defenseman.
Paul Carey was signed by the Senators after spending last season with the Rangers. Carey was a solid fourth-liner last-year and will bring hard work and consistency to Ottawa, even if they thought he was a defenseman.
The Penguins are bringing back Matt Cullen who, once upon a time, spent a season with the Rangers.
Aside from signing John Tavares, the Maple Leafs signed two former Rangers in Josh Jooris and Adam Cracknell. Neither player spent much time with the Blueshirts, but as they say: “once a Ranger, always a Ranger.”
Finally, the Vegas Golden Knights signed defenseman Nick Holden to a two-year deal. Holden started off well with the Rangers back in 2016, but his play declined significantly and he became an asset that needed to be moved. Vegas also brought back Brandon Pirri on a one-year deal.
In non-NHL signings, David Desharnais has signed with KHL club Lokomotiv. There had been rumors that Desharnais was heading over to the KHL when the Rangers season ended, and now it is official.