It wouldn’t be free agent frenzy if the New York Rangers weren’t involved, and it appears as if they will be big players again this year. As per a report from Elliotte Friedman and John Shannon on NHL Network, the Rangers are expected to make a big push to acquire Steven Stamkos when the market opens on July 1.
Shannon mentioned on the broadcast that there was “belief on the draft floor” that a big offer could be coming from the New York Rangers. Obviously this all hinges on the Rangers clearing a massive amount of salary, but given their intent, one could assume that a domino will have to fall relatively soon.
We’ve discussed our fair share of Stamkos over the last several weeks, and the general consensus is that signing Stamkos isn’t a mistake. However, presenting the idea that he “fixes” everything is perhaps the bigger mistake. If the Rangers are going to be big players in the Stamkos sweepstakes, they better have a plan to address the defense with corresponding moves.
Stamkos alone won’t fix the issues that the Rangers have on the backend, so the week leading up to free agency will be very telling in terms of the future. If the Rangers do indeed land Stamkos on a massive contract, expect the likes of Rick Nash and Derek Stepan to be prime targets for salary dump trades.
Of course, there is also the option of buying out the remainder of Dan Girardi’s contract, but it’s unclear if the Rangers want to head down that path at all.
We will continue to update more on the situation as we hear it.