How far will the Rangers get this season?

Five Free Agents To Consider
A few UFAs to Mull Over Before July 1

The New York Rangers, especially GM Glen Sather, will have their hands full in the coming weeks trying to fill out a roster that features a significant number of UFAs and RFAs. 

While the RFA's are an easier chore, the UFA's are no guarantee to return to NYC in the fall.

Six UFA's currently occupy the Rangers roster:

Forward Brian Boyle

Forward Benoit Pouliot

Forward Dominic Moore

Forward Daniel Carcillo

Defenseman Anton Stralman

Defenseman Raphael Diaz

Of those, it is expected that Moore, Carcillo and Diaz will re-sign, with Pouliot, Stralman and Boyle reaching free agency and likely exiting the Big Apple.

However, while the 2014 Free Agent class isn't star-studded, there is depth and serviceable players to be had. Frankly, each of the Rangers UFAs are just that: serviceable players.

Here's a look at five players who could be available come tomorrow afternoon:

Brooks Orpik, Defenseman, Pittsburgh Penguins

With all of the turnover going on in Pittsburgh its likely the 33-year-old hard-nosed veteran defenseman may have to seek greener pastures.

A career-Penguin, at 6'2" and 219 lb. he would provide some necessary grit to a defensive group that struggled against the larger LA Kings forwards. As he was a crucial part to the Penguins Stanley Cup Championship runs he will also bring some needed experience.

While it is still odds-on that he re-signs in Pittsburgh, he was courted by the Rangers prior to his last contract.

Dan Boyle, Defenseman, San Jose Sharks

Speaking of veteran defensemen, the Rangers could try for power play quarterback Dan Boyle on a short deal, reuniting him with Tampa Bay Lightning teammates Martin St. Louis.

At 37-years-old, Boyle is not a long term solution to the Rangers power play blueline, but he still has a bit of gas left in the tank, scoring 12 goals and 24 assists for 36 points last season.

Christian Ehrhoff, Defenseman, Buffalo Sabres 

A compliance buyout, Ehrhoff is a younger Dan Boyle-type defenseman. Despite playing on a poor Sabres team last year, the 31-year-old still put up 33 points.

His best offensive seasons were before Buffalo with the Vancouver Canucks in 2009 and 2010, but there is familiarity with current Rangers Head Coach Alain Vigneault from that time.

The major disadvantage of these defenders is that each occupy a left-handed shot, whereas Stralman is one of the few Ranger right-handers.

Paul Stastny, Center, Colorado Avalanche

Perhaps the biggest name in the UFA class, the 28-year-old Stastny is going to command a lot of money, of which the Rangers don't really have. 

If Sather and co. are convinced that Brassard and Stepan are first and second line centers, then Stastny makes no sense. However, if they think they are more likely to be second and third liners, then Stastny would be a nice compliment up the middle.

David Booth, Left Wing, Vancouver Canucks

While Booth doesn't provide any size on the wing, he does provide good play making ability and speed. The 29-year-old has battled injuries which won't help his case this offseason, but again there is familiarity with him and AV.

Don't expect this signing to happen as much given the Rangers necessity for size, but he could be a good scoring addition on the second or third line if his contract demands are reasonable.


A couple players who could sign off the radar:

Milan Michalek, Ottawa

Derek Roy, St. Louis

Matt Moulson, Minnesota

Posted by Dan Akeson | June 30, 2014 at 03:22 pm

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