Unlike past Free Agent Frenzy’s the New York Rangers will not be big game hunting
You can rattle off the names 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, one where signing Alex Pietrangelo or Taylor Hall make no sense.
New York Rangers will be bargain hunters
It’s quite possible that the Rangers will make little to no noise at all today with the opening bell of free agency. Yes, when the clock strikes 12, you can expect both Pietrangelo and Hall gone. Add in names like Torey Krug, Braden Holtby, Tyson Barrie, Henrik Lundqvist, and Bobby Ryan as well.
Then it could grind to a halt.
If you’ve read my work over the last few months, I told you I spoke with a league executive who believes that could be the case. So when you look at the Rangers expect them to take their time and analyze what is happening in the market.
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.”
The one thing I am not sure of, is if the Rangers may be looking at the trade market and teams looking to clear cap space by any means necessary.
Here’s what won’t be happening today
I’ve made it clear that they won’t be gunning for any of the top free agents. Although they have been attached to Torey Krug, I expect the Michigan native to sign a big deal in Detroit. So your guess is as good as mine who they are targeting at a reasonable price on defense. Maybe that’s why Gorton said they are flirting with the idea of playing Adam Fox or Tony DeAngelo on the left side.
At the center position, they can certainly add some cheap depth in a player like Andreas Athanasiou who was just bought out. Their real target is Alex Wennberg, but only if they can get him at the right price. I’m thinking a one or two year deal in the $2-3 million range. Anything more than that and they won’t pursue.
Lastly, as I reported here since September 1st, Jesper Fast will be heading to the market. On that day a source with knowledge of the situation told me the “window had passed” for them to negotiate. Although there were false reports indicating the two sides were talking, Larry Brooks confirmed my work by speaking with Fast’s agent, Kurt Overhardt. He told Brooks the two sides have not spoken this offseason. When I asked Kurt if there was any change in talks he wrote me back, “ask the Rangers.”
P.S. Matt Martin is not of interest to the Rangers. I reported that as well.