The New York Rangers will see if they can squeeze some value out of Jack Johnson this season, as Darren Dreger of TSN reports they will sign the veteran defenseman to a one-year contract. Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports the deal will be worth $1.15MM.
Rangers fans might not like it after watching Johnson flame out in Pittsburgh and require a buyout, but the fact was they needed some depth options on the back end. Since moving Marc Staal there wasn’t a lot on the left side, with only Brendan Smith signed to a one-way deal. Ryan Lindgren should also play on that side, but there are still minutes to go around alongside the Rangers excellent right side.
If he’s playing 20 minutes a night, Johnson is a disaster. But at just over $1MM and on a one-year deal, there is almost no risk for the still-rebuilding Rangers.
For Johnson, this is just another chance to show he can still hack it in the NHL. Now 33, he’ll already be earning almost a million dollars from the Penguins in each of the next six seasons, meaning this deal only supplements his buyout money. Getting a chance to play with the up-and-coming contender will be a treat, even if things haven’t gone well in his last two Eastern Conference stops.
Speaking of depth defenders, John Matisz of theScore also reports that Anthony Bitetto has also signed with the Rangers. His will be a two-year, two-way contract that will pay $725K at the NHL level in 2020-21 and $750K in 2021-22.