The New York Rangers have not made a request to either Marc Staal or Dan Girardi as of yesterday about waiving their No Movement Clauses, according to New York Posts’ Larry Brooks. Both veteran defenders are coming off down years and have sizable contracts, which likely would make them unattractive to the Las Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft. Many believe the team will ask one or both to waive that No Movement Clause with the hopes of being able to protect other defenders. Staal still has four years at $5.7MM remaining on his contract. Girardi has three years at $5.5MM remaining.
Brooks writes that it’s still possible the Rangers could ask, but says it’s unlikely because since the club must ask before Monday afternoon’s deadline, the club would likely had given them more time to think about it. That leaves several possibilities, including waiving one of them or possibly exposing veteran Nick Holden in the expansion draft and hoping the Golden Knights might take him as opposed to some of their young forwards or goaltender Antti Raanta. Holden is coming off a regular season in which he scored 11 goals and 23 assists for a 34-point season. He might make a good veteran defensive leader or a good trade piece for Las Vegas.
- The Rangers are the top candidates to re-sign defenseman Brendan Smith. According to Brooks, Smith is willing to discuss a contract before unrestricted free agency begins and give the Rangers a window to ink him to a contract, so long as it’s a “market-price” offer. Smith, a defensive defenseman, was acquired from the Detroit Red Wings at the trade deadline for third-round pick this year and a second-round pick in 2018. The 28-year-old is a key component to their defense and played well in their playoff run.
- The scribe also writes that several teams, including the Calgary Flames and the Winnipeg Jets have inquired about Raanta, who is the team’s backup goaltender. However, the Rangers have not committed to trading him yet and may wait until just before expansion rosters are due to make a decision. No doubt, the hope is to raise the price for the young goaltender as offers have not been overwhelming.
- The Rangers and general manager Jeff Gorton have until Friday to lock up one of their restricted free agents to comply with the draft exposure regulations. The team must agree with either Jesper Fast, Oscar Lindberg or Matt Puempel in order to comply. All three know this and are using this as leverage to get a better deal, according to Brooks. If the Rangers are unable to sign one of them or trade for an eligible forward by Friday, they would be subject to penalties from the NHL, including possibly getting stripped of draft picks.