Chris Drury heads into today’s NHL Free Agency period with needs on the right wing, depth defense and backup netminder, but little to no Cap space to do much. As a result he’s expected to mostly be looking at veterans or bubble players who are willing to play near the league minimum. With the exodus of five roster players, plus depth defenseman Libor Hajek who wasn’t extended a qualifying offer, the team has some gaps to fill.
Certainly there are a handful of options for the team, who could give utility forward Johnny Brodzinksi a role, or perhaps another go round with center Jake Leschyshyn. There’s also Will Cuylle who is expected to challenge for a spot, as will Zac Jones and Ben Harpur on defense.
In net, it appears the target will be 37 year old Connecticut native Jonathan Quick. While the local reporters suggested last week there might be interest, Kevin Weekes came out yesterday and suggested it was more than likely he’d join the team he followed growing up.
In more recent news, the Rangers are reportedly showing some interested in 36 year old Right Wing Blake Wheeler, who saw the remaining year of his contract bought out yesterday by the Winnipeg Jets. Wheeler had 16 goals and 55 points last season, and could be an option for Drury if the numbers don’t get too out of hand.
Meanwhile the Rangers did bid farewell to all four of their major draft acquisitions, with Patrick Kane, Vladimir Tarasenko, Tyler Motte and Niko Mikkola all becoming free agents today. Aside from Hajek, the Rangers also parted ways with Tim Gettinger, who was drafted by New York back in 2016, and appeared in 16 games over 4 seasons. Gettinger failed to make an impact in the NHL, but did have a moderately successful carreer in Hartford.
In all, the Rangers saw 13 players leave the organization as free agents, down slightly last year from 16. Aside from the six mentioned, Ryan Carpenter, CJ Smith, William Lockwood, Wyatt Kalynuk and William Lockwood all became UFAs, while Cooper Zech and Patrick Khodorenko were not given qualifying offers.