The New York Rangers took care of business with another RFA today by announcing the re-signing of Vinni Lettieri to a one-year deal.
OFFICIAL: #NYR have agreed to terms with restricted free agent forward Vinni Lettieri on a one-year deal.— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) July 24, 2019
At this time the cap hit isn’t known, but given the team’s financial bind, I’d expect it be something that can be buried in Hartford.
For those wondering "how can they afford him?"... Lettieri is still waivers-exempt and can be assigned to the AHL with no issue. So long as he's paid less than $1.075 million, he would have $0 impact on the Rangers' salary cap while in Hartford. https://t.co/LsnLeVpicL— HockeyStatMiner (@HockeyStatMiner) July 24, 2019
UPDATE: The deal has a cap hit of $700,000 accordingly to Cap Friendly.
Signed to Standard Contract— CapFriendly Transactions (@CF_Transactions) July 25, 2019
Vinni Lettieri (C, RW) | NYR#NYRhttps://t.co/qO1oomXlKG
The 24-year-old Excelsior, MN native could be described as an AAAA hockey player at this point, in the sense that he’s been pretty good at the AHL level, but not productive enough at the NHL level to warrant regular playing time.
He is still a young player with room to grow, but the team’s depth up front doesn’t leave him much of a spot outside of the bottom six, and to this point that’s not been a good fit for him. But the good news is Hartford needs quality players, and that’s exactly what he is.
Last season he averaged a point per game with Hartford through 48 games (23 goals and 25 assists), and tallied three points (one goal and two assists) in 27 NHL games. The season prior he posted 36 points (23 goals and 13 assists) in 55 games as an AHL rookie, while tallying five points (one goal and four assists) in 19 NHL games.
I’d bank on Lettieri starting the season with Hartford, but he represents an option to call up in the event there are injuries during the season. For a deeper look on the ins and outs Lettieri, check out his 2019 report card. His year-to-year growth with the Pack has been promising, and if that continues he could turn into an asset to the organization.
Ideally you want to have talented players like him on the AHL roster, but we’ve seen the team flip great players before at the AHL level, with last year’s trade of Peter Holland for prospect Darren Raddysh being the most recent example.
With Lettieri signed, Pavel Buchenvich (arbitration set for July 29th) Brendan Lemieux, and Tony DeAngelo are the Rangers’ three remaining restricted free agents.