In the past, the New York Rangers were used to having their way with free agency, even in the Salary Cap Era.
But this year is very different, with the cap going down and the Blueshirts deciding to keep Brad Richards and his $6.67 million annual cap hit.
And by keeping Richards, the Rangers gave up on signing their unrestricted free agent Ryane Clowe, who goes to the Devils for a five-year, $24.25 million contract.
Now you can’t argue with the Rangers for NHL Picks like this one. Even though they gave up a second and third round pick in this year’s draft and ultimately a fifth round in next year’s to get Clowe, the forward comes with baggage. He sustained two concussions with the Blueshirts (one late regular season in Carolina, another in playoffs against Capitals), which carries a lot of risk going forward.
For that kind of guaranteed money, you have to wonder if the Devils will get full value or New Jersey is just panicking after seeing David Clarkson go to Toronto for seven years.
The Rangers did do some minor signings on Friday. They welcomed back checking center Dominic Moore, who sat out last season after his wife’s death from cancer, signing a one-year, $1 million deal. He began his career in New York centering the HMO line with Ryan Hollweg and Jed Ortmeyer back in 2005-06.
The Rangers also announced they agreed to terms with defenseman Aaron Johnson and forward Benoit Pouliot, both of which can be found on The Sports Geek YouTube Channel.
Pouliot, 26, left the Tampa Bay Lightning for a one-year, $1.3 million deal with New York. He had eight goals and 12 assists in 34 games last season with Tampa Bay, and led the club with a plus-8 rating.
Overall, in 291 games with Minnesota, Montreal, Boston and Tampa Bay, Pouliot has 61 goals and 63 assists with 201 penalty minutes. He was the No. 4 pick in the 2005 draft by Minnesota.
The 30-year-old Johnson, who got a one-year, $600,000 contract from the Rangers, split last season between the Eastern Conference-champion Boston Bruins and Providence of the AHL. He had 10 penalty minutes in 10 games with Boston.
Johnson has played in 291 NHL games, netting 17 goals and 45 assists, while racking up 222 penalty minutes.