In a move that’s flown under the radar since it was reported last night, the New York Rangers have opted to shore up their defensive depth heading into next season, as they have apparently signed Steven Kampfer (1-1-2 in 11 GP) to a two-year, two-way contract extension:
Steven Kampfer signed a two year extension with the Rangers. $650 000 AAV (2 way) #tvasports— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) April 13, 2017
This is a bit of curious move on Jeff Gorton’s part, albeit one that doesn’t move the needle much in either direction. With Kampfer slated to make $650,000 at the NHL level, (and his AHL salary currently unknown) the entirety of his contract can be buried in Hartford without any cap penalty next season. However, the fact that Gorton elected to jump the gun on offseason signings and lock Kampfer in suggests that the decision makers in the organization like what he can bring to the Rangers, and want to guarantee they have a cost-controlled, harmless option as the 7th defenseman.
This signing all but seals the fate of Adam Clendening, who has been one of New York’s most underrated defenseman whenever he’s drawn into the lineup. Clendening (2-9-11 in 31 GP) has had some of the best underlying metrics among Rangers’ defensemen this season, and has endeared himself to the analytics community through his quiet yet effective play. While it would make a lot more sense to extend the 24 year old Clendening over the 28 year old Kampfer, there could be other factors in play that led Jeff Gorton to extend Kampfer.
All in all, it’s a curious move with even more curious timing by the Rangers. Each of the past three summers, the Rangers have been able to sift through the bargain bin and find effective depth options on the blue line, having brought on Matt Hunwick, Raphael Diaz, Clendening in recent offseasons. With the league trending more and more towards younger players, there is sure to be more undervalued players looking for jobs in the dog days of summer, but Jeff Gorton has opted for familiarity this time around.
Is extending Steven Kampfer a good move?
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I want Diaz back