Should David Farrance be on the Rangers radar?

On Thursday. April 9th, Boston University defenseman David Farrance announced through BU’s twitter account that he would be staying for his senior season of college rather than make the jump to the NHL. The 2020 Hobey Baker finalist ranked first in the NCAA in points by a defenseman this season with 43 points (14 goals, 29 assists) and had ascended the ranks of defensive prospects. But wait… he’s a Nashville Predators pick, 92nd overall back in 2017, so why should Rangers fans care? Because if David Farrance decides to not sign with Nashville this upcoming season, he will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2021 and the New York Rangers should be all over him and if we go by recent history, signs show they will be. 

Farrance Scouting Report

Farrance, a 5’11”, 190 pound defensman, has gotten better every year he has been in college. Prior to joining the Boston University Terriers, Farrance played for the USNTDP program from 2015 through 2017. In his time with the program, Farrance put up some great numbers from the back end topping 20 points his U17 season with 23 and topping 30 points in his U18 season with 37.

Once he joined the Terriers his game continued to grow going. When he was a freshman, he put up three goals and six assists for nine points in 31 games. Farrance more than doubled his point total during his sophomore campaign when he put up 20 points in 37 games. Finally, during this past season, Farrance broke out even further and more than doubled his points again scoring 14 times and adding 29 assists for 43 points. His 1.26 points per game during the 2019-20 season is good for sixth in the NCAA since 2000.

“But wait, the Rangers have a stockpile of defensemen, we don’t need this guy!” 

Trust me, I understand where that sentiment is going to come from. Adam Fox, Tony DeAngelo, Jacob Trouba, Ryan Lindgren and the soon to be arriving K’Andre Miller and Nils Lundkvist give the Rangers one of the best young defense corps in the league. The one problem with the Rangers defense corps and pipeline is that the left side of their defense still needs work. With the exception of Lindgren and Miller, all those guys listed above are right side defensemen and have right handed shots. The left side of the Rangers defense still needs work.

Miller is going to be a fantastic defenseman but he’s going to need some time to truly come into his own and his development could take a few seasons. Marc Staal and Brendan Smith are in no way part of the Rangers long term plans. Brady Skjei is in Carolina. Next season, one of Fox, Trouba, DeAngelo or Lundkvist will most likely be asked to move to the left side due to their embarrassment of riches in the RHD department. The Rangers do have some good left side defensemen in the pipeline, Matthew Robertson and Tarmo Reunanen come to mind as well, but obtaining a guy like Farrance, who is arguably a better prospect than both, would give them another dynamic top prospect added to their pipeline and left side of their defense. 

“But wait, who says the Rangers would even be in on him?”

Kevin Hayes signed as a UFA in 2014. Jimmy Vesey signed as a UFA in 2016. Neal Pionk signed as a UFA in 2017. Adam Fox traded for in 2019. If recent history tells us anything, it’s that the New York Rangers have not been shy to go after college players. They are a franchise that has a storied tradition; they’re an original six team in one of the biggest markets in the entire league that gives its players not just the opportunity to play hockey but to get involved in all the city has to offer including major endorsements. 

The Rangers are still going through a rebuild and you can bet that Farrance would be given every chance to make the Rangers roster after he is done with his college career. There are opportunities here that Farrance might not get with some other clubs. There is another x-factor, specifically in Farrance’s case, the Rangers have other clubs don’t either and his name is David Quinn. In Farrance’s first year at Boston University, he was coached by none other than current Rangers head coach, David Quinn. Familiarity is something that shouldn’t be discounted here as Quinn has worked with Farrance before and can be a powerful force in recruiting him should the Rangers decide to make a play for him next offseason.  

Bigger Picture

So what does the future of the Rangers defensive pipeline look like if Farrance is brought in and ultimately, would he have a legit shot at cracking the roster for 2021-22 if he’s signed? Farrance would immediately become one of the best prospects in the pipeline if he’s signed. He wouldn’t have much of, if anything to prove in Hartford by that point in his career either. 

You have to figure that with Ryan Lindgren and, since Nils Lundkvist will be arriving next season, one of Adam Fox, Tony DeAngelo or Jacob Trouba will be shifted to the left side at that point. That would leave Farrance, Miller, Robertson and Reunanen fighting for that last spot on the blueline and I think at that point, Farrance may have the inside track. Miller is still very raw and his development should not be rushed as his ceiling is among the highest of any prospect we have in our system. He has the potential to be a top pair defenseman but he needs time to get that. Robertson and Reunanen could surprise but I think Farrance is a better prospect than both of them. That being said, here’s what I believe the New York Rangers defense pairs would look like with the addition of Farrance in 2021-2022:

Ryan Lindgren – Adam Fox

David Farrance – Jacob Trouba

Tony DeAngelo – Nils Lundkvist

Will David Farrance be a New York Ranger?

No one can say for sure right now, there are a lot of things that can happen between now and the summer of 2021 but history says they will come knocking and if the Rangers can get him in a room and complete their sales pitch, he might have a tough time saying no. Joining a team with Artemi Panarin, Kaapo Kakko, Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Vitali Kravtsov, Pavel Buchnevich, Adam Fox, Jacob Trouba, Nils Lundkvist, and Igor Shestyorkin? Yeah, I’d have a hard time time saying no also.