The first domino in free agency fell this afternoon as the New York Rangers sign Brendan Smith to a 4-year Contract.
Reports this afternoon confirmed that the New York Rangers have agreed to terms with soon to be free agent Brendan Smith. The deal was first reported by Bob Mckenzie on Twitter.
NYR and Brendan Smith are close to finalizing what is expected to be a four-year deal.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 28, 2017
The report was later confirmed by Justin Tasch of the New York Daily News. Brendan Smith will return to the New York Rangers on a 4-year, $17.4 Million deal with a cap hit of $4.35 million per year.
Smith was acquired by the Blueshirts at the trade deadline this year from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for a third-round draft pick in 2017 and a second round pick in 2018.
GM Jeff Gorton understood it was important for the team to sign Smith prior to the beginning of free agency on July 1 so that larger contract offers from other teams would not deter Smith from returning to New York. Smith, 27-years old, played in 18 games for the Rangers last season scoring 1 goal and tallying 4 assists with a 20:10 average time on ice.
With the Smith deal now completed the New York Rangers will have approximately $16 Million in available cap space. If Kevin Klein should retire it will free up about another $2.5 Million. The team still needs to sign Mika Zibanejad and Jesper Fast who are currently RFA’s. The Rangers also have to fill 2 holes at the center position and need a backup goalie.
The Smith deal was a step in the right direction for the New York Rangers. The next step for GM Jeff Gorton is locking up the other RFA’s mentioned above. The big question heading into free agency, especially with the Smith deal done, is whether or not the Blueshirts still target the highly priced Kevin Shattenkirk. In only a few more days we will know.