Erik Gustafsson

Gustafsson Rejoins Laviolette

In their 10th move of a busy first day of free agency, the Rangers added 31 year old defenseman Erik Gustafsson to the roster.  Gustafsson split last season between the Capitals and Toronto, earning a first round pick in return for Washington at the deadline.

A left handed blueliner, Gustafsson is known more for his passing and power play ability than being a shut down defenseman, and saw his stock rise as the result of an injury to John Carlsson early last season.  With the Capitals’ first choice PP quarterback sidelined, Gustafsson stepped in and put up 38 points (7G 31A) in 61 games, before adding another 4 assists in 9 with the Maple Leafs.

With 273 games to his NHL career – spanning Chicago, Calgary, Montreal and Philadelphia prior to last season, Gustafsson has recorded 191 points, or just over half a point per game in his career.  He averaged 20:22 a game in Washington, and has averaged 19:12 over his career.

He’ll likely see fewer opportunities in New York, where he’ll compete with Zac Jones for the last spot on the blueline, though he may very well supplany Jacob Trouba as a second PP unit option, or perhaps even pair with him on the man advantage at times.

The Swede played his first season in Chicago alongside Artemi Panarin, so he’ll have at least one familiar face to go with that of Peter Laviolette who coached him in Washington.  His one year $825K deal is a low-risk bargain contract in the same vein as the other nine signed on the first day of free agency.

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