Although the Rangers gave blueliner Ben Harpur a vote of confidence with a two-year, $1.575MM contract extension earlier this week (a nice outcome for someone who started the year on an AHL tryout), it shouldn’t automatically be construed that he is in the plans for their upcoming playoff push. To that end, Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports that GM Chris Drury is believed to be looking for an upgrade on Harpur on the third pairing alongside Braden Schneider.
New York has had a trio of defenders in that role this season with largely middling results. Zachary Jones had the first opportunity over the first seven weeks of the year but the team decided he was better served by playing big minutes with AHL Hartford. Libor Hajek continues to be stuck in the undesirable situation of not being deemed good enough to play regularly but is too good to risk losing for nothing on waivers. The end result has once again been frequent healthy scratches.
Harpur has had the bulk of the opportunities lately but hasn’t stood out himself although he at least has provided a bit of consistency defensively. Even so, he has just 14 career playoff games under his belt over his first six NHL seasons and as he’s averaging less than 14 minutes a night, it’s understandable that they’d want someone capable of doing a bit more. All told, those three have combined for three goals and four assists across 51 games so it’s definitely a position that could stand to be improved upon.
The Rangers are one of the few buyers that are poised to have considerable cap flexibility heading into the March 3rd trade deadline with CapFriendly pegging their spending room at just over $6.78MM in full-season salary. Between that and the potential for a trading team to retain salary, that’s more than enough space to make a splash up front as expected and then improve a depth spot or two. And while impact defenders don’t often go at the deadline, moves to shore up defensive depth are quite commonplace.
With more than $67MM in commitments for next season already and a few key young players heading for restricted free agency (headlined by blueliner K’Andre Miller, center Filip Chytil, and winger Alexis Lafreniere), it’s unlikely that Drury would want to add someone signed beyond this season. Fortunately, there should be several left-shot depth defenders on expiring contracts from teams that will be selling. It’s a bit early yet to determine who all those sellers will be but Drury will have multiple teams and players to choose from when the time comes to find an upgrade on Harpur.
Can Montreal interest you in a lightly used Joel Edmundson
Joe Carters walkoff
FDRs legs were lightly used.
The Rangers defense is good enough for the playoffs and the goaltending is obviously set, The Rangers downfall in the playoffs will be a huge lack of depth offensively, Kakko, Lafreniere, And Chytil are all busts thus far!!!!
Chytil has 29 points in 41 games with a +15 in ~15 TOI per game as a 3rd line Center. Bust?
Chytil isn’t a bust. Guys having a solid season. The biggest disappointment is Lafreniere
Chytil is their third best forward. He’s better than Kreider. He was out for a bit and hasn’t had much time on the PP. If you look at what he’s done compared to the amount of time he’s been on this season, he’s really pretty good. The stats bear this out if you compare even strength points (he’s #3 for forwards, just behind Mika) and the fact his TOI is low. Kakko has been middling, plays like an average middle-sixer right now.
Busts, you dont watch them do you
Well if they’re not busts you surely have to admit they haven’t lived up to expectations. Hawks cut bait with Dach and the top of that draft will be remembered for #’s 2 and 3 not being very good. Would say Lafraniere and Chytil at least deserve a larger sample size before saying busts. Dach broke his wrist soon after the draft in Juniors and hasn’t been the same since. Had Deja vu when his brother went down screaming this year.
Chytil has been playing up to expectations; he just hasn’t had that much opportunity.
JOSH BROWN OR SCOTT MAYFIELD WOULD BE MY GUESSES..
Busts for sure!!!!!