Report: Rangers to Sign Defenseman Fredrik Claesson

The New York Rangers have signed defenseman Fredrik Claesson, as first reported by Sporting News’ Murray Pam.

Per TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the deal is for one year at $700K.

Claesson, 25, is a left-handed Swede who last played with the Ottawa Senators. His offensive upside is extremely limited. However, he has some defensive merits. Based on tracking data collected by Corey Snajzder, Claesson has been one of the top defensemen in the NHL when it comes to preventing zone entries.

Furthermore, Erik Karlsson had pretty good results when paired with Claesson compared to many of the others he has partnered with over the last two seasons in Ottawa. Granted, this is a low bar, as Ottawa’s defense after Karlsson has been disastrous. In a general sense, though, Claesson has held his own in tougher minutes. And perhaps there is upside for him in a different system while paired with better players than the ones (Karlsson aside) Ottawa stuck him with.

Claesson doesn’t move the needle, but he suits the Rangers’ purposes and is a smart buy-low option. At worst, he can be sent to the AHL with no penalty for doing so. Or, at just 25 years old, he could be someone the team reinvests in next summer should he prove to be worth an extension. Perhaps, too, he could be a deadline asset next spring. For now, expectation should be that Claesson fills a role as a #6 or #7 defenseman who can play legitimate defensive minutes.