Rangers would do well to consider these options via trade or free agency

Nick Ritchie
May 6, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Brendan Smith (42) and Boston Bruins left wing Nick Ritchie (21) battle for a loose puck in front of goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) during the first period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers were relatively quiet yesterday on Day 1 of Free Agency. Per Cap Friendly, there were 163 signings that totaled a walloping $785,100,000 in contract money. Pretty stunning in the so-called Flat Cap era.

Chris Drury wisely did not engage in some of the madness. Instead he made depth signings.

The signing of veteran left defenseman Patrik Nemeth was made official at 3 years and a $2.5M AAV. Jarred Tinordi was inked for 2 years at $900K AAV as a 7th defender. He also made some depth signings that will help the Wolf Pack in Greg McKegg (1 year / $750K) and Dryden Hunt (1 year / $767K).

Today, the Rangers took care of one of their RFA’s by signing Filip Chytil for two years at $2.3M AAV. The big questions still remains, will they make a trade for Jack Eichel or another center.

If the answer is no, then these are three targets they should consider.

Nick Ritchie, Forward 6-2, 234 lbs (UFA) 

In a bit of a surprising move, the Bruins did not qualify forward Nick Ritchie which made him a UFA.

This past season was a good one for the now 25 year-old UFA as he notched 26 points in 56 games for Boston. He is considered a quality 3rd line guy that should be snatched up pretty quickly.

Ritchie is likely weighing out his options at the moment. Where he signs will be based on what he wants. Is he looking for top term and money, or a chance at a Cup?

The Rangers who are adding toughness at every turn are believed to be interested.

Logan Brown, Center 6-6, 220 lbs (RFA)

Logan Brown
Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

In Ottawa, they have a hulking center in Logan Brown who has yet to sign his qualifying offer. There’s plenty of speculation he could be trade bait this offseason.

The 23 year-old was drafted 11th overall by the Senators in 2016 and is struggling to find time on the big club. Spanning four seasons, Brown has only played in 30 games and amassed 9 points. Things got so bad his now former agent ripped into the Senators after he failed to make the team out of camp in 2019.

“I can say with full confidence, that I’ve really never seen another player met with such resistance by the team that drafted them early in the first round,” Andy Scott said. “But, from 10,000 feet, when I look at this situation, I see a team that is in the throws of a rebuild and just driving around Ottawa you see the slogan for this season is ‘The Kids are Alright,’  and if the kids are alright, then play the kids. Why is Logan Brown not being groomed to be the next first or second-line centre?”

There was a rumor that the Senators were interested in Ryan Strome. If there is a trade to be made there, getting Brown back might make sense. Should they stay with Strome, it still may be worthwhile to pry him out of there.

Brown’s agent is now Jeff Jackson who represents several Rangers prospects; including Will Cuylle.

Casey Cizikas, Center 5-11, 195 lbs (UFA)

The Islanders “Identity Line” center should be the top free agent the Rangers should target. He wins draws, and scores clutch goals in the postseason. Cizikas isn’t physically imposing at 5-11 and 195 lbs but he plays so much bigger than his size.

The last bit of news on him was the Islanders are still trying to keep Cizikas on their roster. My thinking is he will likely stay there, but if not he’d be a perfect fit for what Drury is building.

It will cost though. Yesterday, Blake Coleman got a 6 year deal from the Flames at $4.9 million AAV. The Rangers would probably have to give something less, but similar to get the 30 year-old Cizikas.

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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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