The New York Rangers made good and bad moves on free agency day, Wednesday July 13th. From trading a spectacular player to the depths of Anaheim to drafting a goalie they faced off against in the playoffs weeks prior, the Rangers seemingly intended to shock fans with their decisions this week. Highlighted here are the, albeit questionable, moves by the New York Rangers and how these moves will hurt or improve the team in coming seasons.
Following last week’s draft, the Rangers have been on top of their game with filling their roster with much needed depth. A trade of Georgiev to Colorado prompted the Rangers organization to look for goaltenders to backup Vezina winner Igor Shesterkin. And goaltenders they found.
From the Winnipeg Jets, the Rangers drafted Jaroslav Halak for a 1 year contract for $1.55M. This is a great deal with Halak as the Rangers need a backup who is stable and seasoned, which Halak is. Boasting a .916 overall save percentage, Halak is clearly skilled enough to join Shesterkin’s goalie tandem and provide much needed depth in the Rangers goalie lineup. And with a .919 playoff save percentage, having Halak on backup during the playoffs would prove useful to the Rangers if we can clinch a spot once again.
From the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Rangers contracted Louis Domingue to 2 years and $775K AAV. The goaltender, often nicknamed “Chef Domingue” after an interview with a reporter in the 2022 playoffs when the French Canadian boasted that he cooks his own pre and during-game meals, is a bit less in caliber and skill than Halak but provides much needed comfort and safety within the crease. Domingue has a current .905 save percentage but set a record during his time with the Coyotes for wins by a rookie goalie and was named NHL Rookie of the Month in January 2016, going 6-3-2 with a 2.20 GAA and .925 save percentage. Thus demonstrating that Domingue is a great backup goalie, proved by his performance in the playoffs this season, and was a great choice by the Rangers this free agency.
From the Carolina Hurricanes, Vincent Trochek will provide the Rangers with much needed center depth for 7 years at $5.625M AAV. Trocheck has been with the Canes for 2 years and put up good numbers with them, scoring an average of 28 goals and 47 assists over his time with them. He’s not a fantastic goal-scorer but he is a great assister and can clearly back up the major Rangers goal-scorers like Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, and Artemi Panarin. Trocheck will be extremely useful to the Rangers and it is a very exciting prospect to have a center depth player like him for 7 years.
From the Calgary Flames, the Rangers got Ryan Carpenter for 1 year and $750K. Putting up only 26 goals and 45 assists in his career so far, Carpenter doesn’t have much to his name, but that doesn’t mean the Rangers isn’t a good stepping stone for the center. The forward played for Worcester in 2014-15 and almost all of 2015-16 with San Jose of the AHL and made his NHL debut for the Sharks against the Minnesota Wild on Dec. 12, 2015. Carpenter got an 11-game recall in 2016-17 and scored his first NHL goal against the Los Angeles Kings on Nov. 30, 2016. He could be a power forward and provide some added center depth if needed, but I don’t expect to see him in the top lines.
Ryan Strome & Frank Vatrano
Everyone’s favorite empty net misser, Ryan Strome, has been shipped off to Anaheim along with Frank Vatrano. The latter, in my opinion, should have stayed with the Rangers due to his clear influence and outstanding performance within the Rangers lineup. Vatrano is too good for Anaheim and will seem out of place within their playing style. However, Strome will fit right in and it will be interesting to see how the two ex-Rangers fair in California. Vatrano’s presence will be missed in New York as he is set to be in Anaheim for 3 years, Strome for 5.
The rest of the Rangers lineup that was traded was too insignificant to mention in my opinion, yet I believe that the Rangers made overall good decisions on free agency day. Only time will tell if the picks were actually beneficial to the team’s overall performance.