October 17, 2020

The Rangers and free agency is all about bargain hunting

Jack Johnson bargain (Getty Images)

Almost every free agent season you can find the Rangers in the hunt for big names. You can rattle them off over the last few years; Artemi Panarin in 2019, Kevin Shattenkirk in 2017, both top UFAs in their class. Now the Rangers are in a different mode, at that was evident with their recent bargain bin shopping for players like Kevin Rooney.

New York Rangers the bargain hunters

The Rangers made little to no noise from the opening bell of free agency to date. They simply went out and signed Jack Johnson and host of low lever players to fill the Pack roster.

If you’ve read my work over the last few months, I told you I spoke with a league executive who believed that free agency would be a mad rush early but then grind to a halt after. So when you look at what the Rangers did you can still expect them to take their time and analyze what transpires with the market.

rangers free agency
Kevin Rooney (Getty Images)

Jeff Gorton said he wants to address the center position and left defense. “We have some players we’ve identified that can help us,” he said in his post-draft presser. “I don’t know, one way or the other, I don’t think it will be like last year, that’s for sure.”

He did that by signing Jack Johnson and Anthony Bettitio to small deals. As for centers, Kevin Rooney has a chance at the 4th line spot next season.

Free Agency one week later

rangers trade rumors
Jeff Gorton will be ready manage his assets this offseason (Getty Images)

I’ve made it clear that they won’t be gunning for any of the top free agents. Although they were attached to Torey Krug. After signing Johnson it makes more sense why Gorton said they are flirting with the idea of playing Adam Fox or Tony DeAngelo on the left side.

So now, the Rangers focus is fully on their last two RFA’s. Once they are done signing Brendan Lemieux and Ryan Strome, they can see if there’s maybe another $1 million deal for one year out there.

Andreas Athanasiou could be such a player. Maybe Erik Haula if something make sense. Should things not work out with Ryan Strome, expect them to go all out for Mikael Granlund…if he is still available.

What’s up with Patrik Laine?

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