The New York Rangers have already made some notable moves this offseason. And with free agency set to begin Wednesday at noon ET, there may be even more changes to the team's roster on the horizon.
It appears the Rangers have already lined up one free-agent deal. On Tuesday, Larry Brooks of the New York Post reported that the team is expected to sign defenseman Patrik Nemeth when free agency opens. The deal will "likely be for two or three years, worth between $2.25 million-$2.75 million per season," per Brooks.
The 29-year-old has played for three teams over eight NHL seasons. He spent his first four seasons with the Dallas Stars, then played for the Colorado Avalanche for two seasons. After signing a free-agent deal with the Detroit Red Wings prior to the 2019-20 season, he was traded back to Colorado earlier this year.
This past season, Nemeth had three goals, seven assists and a plus-minus rating of plus-five over 52 games (39 with Detroit and 13 with Colorado). The Avalanche gave other teams permission to negotiate with him prior to the start of free agency, per Brooks, which is how the Rangers have already worked out a deal.
The Swede is likely going to provide a boost to the Rangers' defense. Now, perhaps they'll look to add an offensive player, especially after they traded forward Pavel Buchnevich to the St. Louis Blues last Friday.
Apparently, that move was one that may not have been popular with New York players, though. The Athletic's Rick Carpiniello reported forward Artemi Panarin and goaltender Igor Shesterkin are "livid" about the Buchnevich trade. And they may not be the only ones.
"It’s tough to imagine there aren't at least a few other players who feel the same way," Carpiniello wrote.
Buchnevich was a restricted free agent, so the Rangers could have re-signed him. Instead, the 26-year-old is now in St. Louis, marking the first time he's switched teams after spending his first five NHL seasons with New York.
On Tuesday, the Blues announced they had signed the Russian to a four-year, $23.2 million deal. So he won't be hitting free agency anytime soon, either.
Buchnevich has tallied at least 38 points in each of the past four seasons. He had a career-high 48 points (20 goals and 28 assists) in 54 games for the Rangers during the 2020-21 campaign.
There were rumors earlier in the offseason that New York may be in the mix to trade for Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel. But Carpiniello reported that Sabres owner Terry Pegula would prefer the 24-year-old to be dealt to a Western Conference team. So it's possible the Rangers won't pull off a trade there.
Perhaps New York will acquire another offensive player, though, in order to replace some of the production it lost when trading away Buchnevich.