By now, a Nick Holden trade seems like a certainty. While Jeff Gorton’s move to send a fourth-round pick to the Avalanche for the 30-year-old defenseman seemed savvy as “Golden Holden” earned top-four minutes through the first half of last season, he didn’t do enough in the second half of the season or playoffs to warrant a second year with the Blueshirts.
With the conclusion of the Mika Zibanejad arbitration case ending with the Swedish center re-signing to a five year contract, Jeff Gorton’s busy summer has entered its final stage, attempting to land another center to fill the void left by the departure of Derek Stepan. Or maybe it is already done if no deal can be had to move some combination of the Rangers’ depth at wing and on defense to plug the last remaining hole in the roster. That situation is complicated by a lack of salary cap space, though, with the Blueshirts currently sitting at around $3M with one spot remaining to be filled. They might have one last option to help that situation, though.
The New York Rangers have officially re-signed forward Mika Zibanejad to a 5-Year/$26.75M extension worth $5.35M per season.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) July 25, 2017
Dumpster diving. Bargain bin shopping. Finding a diamond in the rough. Whatever your idiom of choice, the New York Rangers have developed a shrewd business technique of bringing in low-cost players with high-reward upside and have been reaping the extensive benefits of that practice often over the last five years.
According to CapFriendly.com, the New York Rangers have signed 21-year old Russian goaltender Alexander Georgiev to a three-year entry-level contract.
#Rangers have signed free agent goalie Alexander Georgiev
3 year Entry Level contract
$792,500 cap hit
* includes Games Played bonuses pic.twitter.com/3Jw2tuqWYk
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) July 18, 2017
New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced this afternoon that the team has signed forward Filip Chytil to a three-year entry-level contract.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) July 14, 2017
In signing top defender Jaccob Slavin to a long-term contract, the Carolina Hurricanes has brought more clarity to the big picture surrounding Brady Skjei’s next deal. While we’ve pontificated about what it might cost to sign Skjei before, Slavin’s contract provides another valuable barometer; one that Rangers’ GM Jeff Gorton will certainly leverage when working to extend Skjei.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) July 13, 2017
Lias Andersson was selected 7th overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft using the pick that the Rangers received from the Arizona Coyotes along with Anthony DeAngelo for Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta. The Swedish center is known for his strong two-way play. Given the lack of NHL centers the Rangers currently have signed, it is possible Andersson may be able to compete for a spot on the team this season.
Rangers prospect Nicklas Jensen, who was traded to the Rangers in 2016 for Emerson Etem, has left the NHL for Finland, signing a one-year deal with Jokerit Helsinki of the KHL.
— Jokerit Helsinki (@Jokerit_EN) July 12, 2017
Jensen has had a fair amount of success at the AHL level with 86 goals and 73 assists in 277 games. However, in the NHL, he has found it difficult to maintain any consistent production, scoring only 3 goals and 3 assists in 31 games.
For the Rangers, he spent most of the 2016-2017 season in the AHL with the Hartford Wolfpack where he led the team in goals (32) and points (55). He was called up to the Rangers to play seven games in December and January, filling in on the fourth line. He failed to produce any points.
In a bit of Sunday food for thought, Larry Brooks of the New York Post has effectively legitimized those Bozak rumors from early last week that suggested the New York Rangers had kicked tires on the 31-year old center.
If the Maple Leafs’ addition of Marleau prompts the club to solicit offers for Tyler Bozak, the 31-year-old center whose average ice time has declined from 20:57 to 16:26 over the past four seasons, expect the Rangers to be among the interested parties.
Nick Holden likely would be the opening ante to get in on Bozak, a one-year right-handed rental at $4.2 million who habitually has excelled at the dots (56.7 last year, 53.6 for his eight-year career), is capable offensively (18 goals, 37 assists, 55 points last season) and would slot into the middle two or three with Kevin Hayes behind Mika Zibanejad.
While Brooks’ report doesn’t confirm the Rangers have touched base with the Maple Leafs, it does confirm a level of interest worth noting.