The Rangers entered the free agency period with nine players either not offered qualifying offers, or allowed to leave as Unrestricted Free Agents. Of the nine, five had appeared on Broadway, with the remaining four not officially credited with any playing time, though Dustin Tokarski did operate as a backup goaltender.
Included were three netminders, Tokarski, Brandon Halverson and Chris Nell. Only Halverson saw any action, with less than a period in relief two seasons ago. Nell was a free agent signing who was unable to make an impression in the organization after being signed out of college, while Tokarski’s most memorable NHL moment was in relief of the injured Carey Price when he fought valiantly to keep the Canadiens in their Eastern Conference Finals battle with the Rangers back in 2014. His career has tailed off dramatically since then, and he quickly fell down the depth charts in New York.
The only forward in the bunch was Connor Brickley, who came to the Rangers last year following a trade for minor-leaguer Cole Schneider. Brickley made 14 appearances for New York and did pick up a goal and three assists in his brief tenure, but was used mostly as a depth forward as the Rangers once again traded away many of their assets at the deadline.
Rounding out the slate were five defensemen, including Julius Bergman, Rob O’Gara, Chris Bigras, Fredrik Claesson and John Gilmour. Claesson and Gilmour got limited playing time last year, with the former injured for a number of games, while Gilmour – an undrafted free agent signing in 2016.