08/02/23: The Rangers have now officially announced the signing of Scanlin to a one-year contract extension.
Scanlin’s representatives and the Rangers have agreed on a one-year, $775k contract carrying a $100k AHL salary. Scanlin’s arbitration hearing was scheduled for August 4th, and will obviously now be taking not take place.
Scanlin is a 24-year-old undrafted right-shot blueliner who signed an entry-level contract at the conclusion of his NCAA career at the University of Nebraska Omaha. That deal carried a $925k NHL AAV and an $80k AHL salary, the latter being the more important number as Scanlin was always unlikely to see games for the Rangers so quickly after leaving college. Scanlin’s camp has secured a pay raise to $100k in the AHL for next season, though at the cost of cutting the NHL AAV down to the league minimum.
While this will hurt Scanlin’s earning potential in the NHL, that isn’t of major consequence looking at the Rangers’ defensive depth chart. The hulking six-foot-three, 223-pound defenseman isn’t going to threaten Ryan Lindgren or K’Andre Miller for either of the two top slots on the Rangers’ defensive depth chart.
While the left-side spot on the team’s third pairing next to Braden Schneider will likely be up for grabs in training camp and preseason, Scanlin faces a tall task to earn that role over holdover Rangers players such as Zachary Jones (who the Rangers would need to expose to waivers to send to AHL Hartford) and Ben Harpur, or veteran free agent signings such as Erik Gustafsson (42 points last season) and Connor Mackey.
As a result, he’s overwhelmingly likely to be ticketed for a role back in the AHL with the Hartford Wolf Pack, where he played his rookie professional season in 2022-23. Scanlin played in 61 games for Hartford in 2022-23, scoring four goals and 15 points while racking up 30 penalty minutes. Although Scanlin had to contend with more established players such as Jones, Libor Hájek, and Matthew Robertson soaking up regular minutes in Hartford he still managed to play in nearly 85% of the Wolf Pack’s games and the team’s full slate of nine playoff games.
That puts him in a decent position to maintain a regular role for the Wolf Pack next season, although the additions of Gustafsson and Mackey could make things more difficult. Assuming Gustafsson earns the third-pairing role next to Schneider and the Rangers opt to stash Jones in the press box as a seventh defenseman rather than expose him to waivers, Mackey, should he clear waivers, is in line to be the Wolf Pack’s number-one left-shot defenseman with Harpur and Robertson likely to be behind him.
That lineup picture could make it harder for Scanlin to see regular time in Hartford, especially as more accomplished AHLers such as Mac Hollowell and Nikolas Brouillard stand ahead of him on the right side.
Still, Scanlin appears to be one injury or waiver claim from resuming his regular role on head coach Kris Knoblauch’s defense, and should he manage to hold down a regular role he will be afforded a solid opportunity to continue his development and make a more concerted push for NHL call-up consideration.