According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, the New York Rangers are set to sign goal-scoring winger Brandon Pirri to a one-year deal. Friedman indicates the pact will have an approximate value of $1.1MM.
Over the last three seasons, Pirri has scored 0.95 G/60 at even-strength. Last year only 40 forwards who saw at least 500 5-on-5 minutes of ice time had a better goal-scoring rate. Clearly, Pirri knows how to put the puck in the net and for a relatively minimal investment, this looks like a free agent bargain.
Despite his ability to score, Anaheim declined to extend a qualifying offer after the season making Pirri an UFA. The decision came just months after the Ducks acquired Pirri from Florida for nothing more than a sixth-round draft choice. PHR profiled Pirri’s free agent market, examining why a skilled goal-scorer remained on the open market well into the summer and why two teams already essentially walked away from him for little to no compensation in return.
Less than a week after the team added coveted college free agent winger Jimmy Vesey, the Rangers continue to stockpile quality forward depth. With Pirri on board, the Rangers now have as many as 15 NHL-caliber forwards on the roster. The signing likely will led to additional speculation that the Rangers may entertain dealing from a position of strength – veteran scoring forward – to address a position of weakness – quality blue liners.
The Rangers have been linked to defense help much of the summer with one oft-rumored target being Kevin Shattenkirk of St. Louis. It’s at least possible, given the recent additions of Vesey and Pirri, that the Rangers would feel comfortable enough with their forward unit to part with a proven scorer to upgrade the defense corps though they may find it easier to do so closer to the trade deadline.