After reports surfaced last night about the New York Rangers 'closing in' on Lee Stempniak, it appears as if both sides have signed off on the deal this morning. According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, Lee Stempniak has hopped on board with the Rangers on a one-year deal worth $900,000. Stempniak is taking a pretty significant pay cut to join the Rangers, as he is coming off a two-year deal that paid him $2.5 million last season.
As we alluded to last night, Stempniak is more or less Benoit Pouliot's replacement, and slots in very nicely on the third line. He also has the ability to play in a top-six role if needed, and can play on the power play as well. His right handed shot is also a big bonus, and will give Alain Vigneault some much needed versatility with the man-advantage. At $900,000, this deal another low-risk signing by the Rangers, with the potential of having a very high reward.
With Matthew Lombardi jumping on board earlier in the week, and now Stempniak, the Rangers have approximately $12.3 million to work with for their restricted free agents. Chris Kreider, Derick Brassard, and Mats Zuccarello all have scheduled arbitration hearings coming up, with Kreider's coming up on Wednesday afternoon.
After this move, the Rangers are pretty much done adding (aside from the RFA's), so it will be interesting to see how the rest plays out.