As a man who completely changed the physicality of the New York Rangers blueline, should Brendan Smith be re-signed?
Brendan Smith finds himself in a very unusual place right now. He was left off the protected list for the Las Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft yet is also an unrestricted free agent come Jul. 1.
That is probably why the New York Rangers didn’t protect him, but it does put him in a very advantageous position regardless if Vegas selects him (very unlikely) or not. For the first time in his career, he has the advantage. As a UFA, Smith is sure to get some offers if he doesn’t sign with the Rangers after the expansion draft concludes or when free agency begins.
Smith is a steady player who has decent speed and is considered a stay at home defenseman. His value on the team increased as the season concluded.
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Smith, the Ontario, Canada native, was the Detroit Red Wings first round pick, 27th overall in the 2007 NHL draft. He made his debut during the 2011-12 season in which he played 14 games. He became a full time players in 2013-2014, playing 71 games for the Red Wings. This past season he was traded to the Rangers at the trade deadline and played most of his time with Brady Skjei. Smith was able to raise Skjei’s game as his partner and in the playoffs they were becoming a top four pairing before the Rangers were eliminated by Ottawa in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The Rangers are trying to improve their blueline and need to sign a player with Smith’s size and ability. With the buyout of Dan Girardi last week and the rumored retirement of Kevin Klein, the team will free up a little over $5 million this upcoming season. Fans may believe that would be enough to begin negotiations with Smith and his agent, but the Rangers have been closed lip about signing Smith to a multi-year deal. That could be due to the fact that the Rangers may have someone higher up on their priority list to sign as in Kevin Shattenkirk. He is considered the best defenseman available once free agency begins Jul. 1.
Once the expansion draft concludes and the Golden Knights announce their team on Wednesday night during the NHL awards show, the Rangers will begin their preparations for the upcoming season. The trade freeze will be lifted on Thursday and the NHL draft begins Friday night in Chicago. –
The Rangers should have a better idea of what Smith will cost them to re-sign with them which most likely will be based on what Kevin Shattenkirk is asking for in free agency. The defense for the Rangers was a huge struggle for most of last season. The mistakes made in front of their net and lack of speed created a lot of scoring opportunities for the opposition.
An improved system blueline is the first step the team needs to make. Now is the time for the organization to make the moves to improve the blue line. It should begin with Brendan Smith signing with the Rangers.