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Ranger Free Agency/Trade Recap

Newbury Action Shot 2 (1)

Plenty of movement around the hockey world the last few days, with the NHL Draft and the beginning of the free agency period, and the parent-club New York Rangers made their share of deals.  With the help of the invaluable capgeek.com, whence all salary information comes, here is a rundown.

  • Defenseman Justin Falk was acquired June 30th, on the eve of the draft, from Minnesota, in exchange for Benn Ferriero and a sixth-round draft pick.  Falk is a restricted free agent, coming off of a one-year, one-way contract that paid $825,000.
  • Just before the beginning of the July 1 draft, Kris Newbury, the Whale’s leading point-getter the last three years, was traded to Philadelphia for elite offensive defenseman Danny Syvret.  Syvret is entering the second year of a two-year, two-way deal that has an NHL cap hit of $587,500.
  • The day after the draft, July 2, the Rangers dealt Christian Thomas to Montreal for fellow young prospect forward Danny Kristo.  Kristo has one year left on an entry-level contract that has an NHL cap hit of $1.3 million.
  • On July 4, veteran forwards Arron Asham and Darroll Powe were put on waivers.  Asham has one year left on a contract with a cap hit of $1 million and Powe one year left with a cap hit of $1.07 million.
  • On July 5, the first official day of free agency, the Rangers inked a trio of veterans, forwards Dominic Moore and Benoit Pouliot and defenseman Aaron Johnson.  All three are one-year, one-way contracts, Pouliot for a reported $1.3 million, Moore for $1 million and Johnson for $600,000.
  • Also on July 5, forward Ryane Clowe, who it was going to be hard for the Rangers to keep because of salary cap concerns, signed with New Jersey.

So, if I count right, on a net basis, the big club has subtracted three forwards (if you assume that Asham and Powe are off the roster), and added three D-men.  On the blueline, Ryan McDonagh, who was a restricted free agent, was just re-signed today, and Falk is an RFA as well, and you would think they would sign him if they bothered to trade for him.  That would make, by my count, nine experienced defensemen under NHL contract, and the likes of Stu Bickel and Dylan McIlrath would up the count to 11.  Tons of depth there.

Syvret has been mostly an AHLer over his career, so a first glance would have him ticketed for the Wolf Pack, but among the guys who finished last year in the NHL, only John Moore is on a two-way contract, and it sure sounded like the organization liked his work with the Rangers after Moore was acquired from Columbus in the Marian Gaborik deal.  The rest all have one-way deals and Johnson is the only one who spent any time in the AHL last season, and that was a mere two games with Providence.  So it’s going to be very interesting to see who makes up the top end of the Wolf Pack backline coming out of training camp.

Things are somewhat less crowded up front.  Right now there are ten forwards from last season’s concluding NHL roster currently under contract, again minus Asham and Powe.  Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin both need new contracts, but there doesn’t seem to be any question that they will be re-signed.  Mats Zuccarello seems more of a question mark, again due to cap issues.  Extra opportunity for somebody outside that group of 12 or 13 will be there for the taking early in the season, as neither Hagelin nor Ryan Callahan is expected to be fully recovered from their respective shoulder surgeries in time to start the year.