Brendan Smith will be an interesting free agent case to follow this summer after his successful transition from the Detroit Red Wings to New York Rangers at the deadline. The defenseman can play both sides, is only 28 and can contribute a little offensively when put into that situation. While he won’t find himself at the top of an list of available free agents, his representation does feel as though there will be lots of interest in him this summer.
Smith’s agent Anton Thun spoke to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, saying that though the Rangers are certainly in the running for his client, they won’t take a deal that doesn’t represent fair market value. While Thun may be a little hyperbolic when he mentions that 28 teams could use Smith, there does seem to be a spot for him in many lineups around the league. His ability to play in most situations while sporting a bit of physicality will be welcomed wherever it is he ends up.
- Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune reports that the Blackhawks have their sights set on Ulf Samuelsson as their new assistant coach, replacing the fired Mike Kitchen. Samuelsson spent this season coaching the Charlotte Checkers to 39-29-8 record, though they were knocked out of the first round of the playoffs. Samuelsson, a veteran of 1080 NHL games has previously worked in a coaching role with the Arizona (then Phoenix) Coyotes and New York Rangers. Samuelsson was known as a bad-tempered defender in his day, recording 2453 penalty minutes while registering just 333 points.
- As one could expect from the report yesterday, the New York Rangers did indeed make an offer to Radim Simek before he decided to go with the San Jose Sharks. There isn’t a ton of difference between possible entry-level contracts relative to the entire salary structure of a team, but perhaps the Rangers weren’t willing to guarantee the same financial commitment the Sharks were. The eventual deal earns Simek $830K in the NHL, and could still include signing and performance bonuses. The Rangers already signed Alexei Bereglazov and Neal Pionk this spring, adding some youth to their defense corps from the NCAA and European free agent ranks.