Rangers rumored to be looking to add a veteran defenseman; why not just re-sign Brendan Smith?

brendan smith
Apr 27, 2021; New York, NY, USA; Brendan Smith #42 of the New York Rangers (C) celebrates his second period goal against the Buffalo Sabres along with K'Andre Miller #79 (L) and Chris Kreider #20 (R) at Madison Square Garden on April 27, 2021 in New York City. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

We often look for the greener pasture, when so often the grass is better where we are. This is no different for an NHL team. The Rangers are said to be in the market for a veteran defenseman after missing out on Zdeno Chara this past offseason, but why not look at one of their very own pending UFA’s in Brendan Smith.

Rangers in the market for a veteran defenseman this offseason

The New York Rangers realize they have a young and talented group of players, the youngest in the NHL in fact. They also realize having an entire blue-line of kids may not be the fastest way to playoff success. Larry Brooks touched on this in a recent column, but Forever Blueshirts has learned that the plan is to indeed add a veteran defenseman to the top six.

How the Rangers go about adding this player isn’t yet decided, but I believe it will be the free agent route. And no, they aren’t going to bring in another Jack Johnson type. Matter of fact, if Zdeno Chara wants to play past this season, I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t make another run for him.

The Blueshirts may want to take a bigger swing in the UFA market for a blue-liner. This crop of free agents has some potential names that would drastically improve the defense and make them harder to play against. Someone maybe with Stanley Cup winning history.

Those players don’t come cheap. A player like Alec Martinez out in Vegas won’t sign for one year and under one million dollars, so Jeff Gorton needs to think this through.

Why not re-sign Brendan Smith

Brendan Smith
Brendan Smith (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

When Jacob Trouba went down, Brendan Smith stepped up. Since Trouba’s injury, Smith has scored two goals and tallied three points in five games. The 32 year-old lefty can play both sides of the ice without issue, and is a mentor to the younger guys. On the season, he’s tied with Adam Fox for the team lead with goals by a defender at five. He currently has 10 points in 43 contests. Simply put, he’s a solid player.

If you’ve been listening to the way David Quinn talks about him, you’d have to believe Jeff Gorton is strongly considering a contract extension. “It’s meant a lot and Smitty has meant a lot to us for a long time,” he said when asked about Smith’s leadership. “I thought it was his best game of the year (last night). He means so much to us on and off the ice. He’s a personality – he’s a leader.”

“It’s a fun group to play with,” Smith said after his big game. “I love playing for these guys…I really enjoy it because the level of effort people put forth – the dynamic of our team we have very young guys a couple of older guys and we’re all buying in.”

Sounds like a veteran that not only fits in but wants to stay. If the Rangers can’t find what they’re looking for it makes sense to give Smith consideration. Maybe it should just be him anyway.

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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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