The plans to sign these Vegas Golden Knights in free agency have been finalized by the Rangers.

Rangers Should Target These Vegas Golden Knights in Free AgencyWhile the Stanley Cup Final rages on, NHL general managers are getting busy. We have seen some trades, waiver claims, and swirling rumors of buy-out candidates, gearing us up for an exciting offseason. The New York Rangers were at the forefront of the activity, placing veteran Barclay Goodrow on waivers on Tuesday.

Goodrow, who has three years left with an annual cap hit of roughly $3.6 million, was claimed by the San Jose Sharks. The move reportedly ruffled some feathers , but Rangers general manager Chris Drury needed the cap space, not just for this season, but for the next offseason when key players like Igor Shesterkin and Alexis Lafreniere will be due huge paydays.

With Goodrow off the books, the Rangers now have just north of $12.8 million in cap space to attack their remaining roster holes. A first-line right wing is a must, while locking up Braden Schneider and deciding on Ryan Lindgren’s future are also high priorities. Drury is searching for big bodies and talented forwards who can mesh with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider on the top line or complement the bottom six.

Across the country, there is a Vegas Golden Knights roster that has little cap flexibility and notable names needing new contracts. It’s the perfect place for the Blueshirts’ GM to start his search, with several options to choose from.

Free Agent Forwards on the Golden KnightsRangers Should Target These Vegas Golden Knights in Free Agency

The Golden Knights are notorious for using long-term injured reserve (LTIR) to their advantage, bolstering their roster ahead of each playoff run. After adding Tomas Hertl and re-signing Noah Hanifin, Vegas is left with just under $1.2 million in cap space, with some notable players unsigned for next season.

It is almost certain that some of their unrestricted free agents (UFA) will play elsewhere in 2024-25. How their general manager, Kelly McCrimmon, decides to manipulate the roster via trades or signings will ultimately determine who is available. From the Rangers’ perspective, their situation is ripe for the picking. Here are some options.

Jonathan Marchessault, RW

One of the original ‘misfits,’ Jonathan Marchessault, has been a prominent member of the Golden Knights since the expansion draft. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy as postseason MVP in 2023 when Vegas won the franchise’s first Stanley Cup. He doesn’t have the size Drury seems to be on the hunt for, at 5-foot-9, but there is no denying his postseason prowess.

The 33-year-old UFA scored 42 goals during the 2023-24 season. He is coming off a six-year contract that pays him $5 million annually. His next contract remains to be seen, but entering his age 34 season, he likely will command a similar price tag. Marchessault is an intriguing candidate to fill the right-wing void alongside Zibanejad and Kreider. His shot and ability to finish would be a welcome sight for the Blueshirts.

The Quebec native is not the prototypical playmaker at five-on-five, finishing with a 49.26 Corsi-for (CF%) this season, per Natural Stat Trick. If the goal is to add him to the right side of the first line, that could be a downside to a duo that already struggles at even-strength production.

Anthony Mantha, LW or RWRangers Should Target These Vegas Golden Knights in Free Agency

Anthony Mantha brings size and skill, a combination that is a priority for the Rangers. The 6-foot-5 winger signed his last contract with the Detroit Red Wings before being dealt to the Washington Capitals and eventually the Golden Knights at the most recent trade deadline.

He scored 58 points across his two teams this season, but his production has not lived up to the $5.7 million AAV he signed for. At just 29, Mantha is an intriguing option due to his potential fit on the Rangers and contract term not being as detrimental as it would be for an older player.

Mantha’s 54.41 CF% was third on Vegas, and his 50.47 CF% with Washington was good for fourth. He would be the puck-possession player the first line has been looking for, but his inconsistent production could be a drawback.

Chandler Stephenson, C or LW

Chandler Stephenson also has ties to the Capitals and Golden Knights. At 30 years old and on the heels of a $2.75 million AAV, Stephenson could be due for a pay raise. After putting up over 60 points in each of the last two seasons, 2023-24 was a down year for the forward, who tallied just 51.

He is a good faceoff man, winning 52.6% of his draws this season, and has good puck-handling skills. At 6 feet and 209 pounds, the Canadian has a physical presence and is versatile, moving throughout the lineup to fill different positions. Although not a candidate for the top-line role the Rangers need, Stephenson would be a nice depth add to help solidify the bottom six, especially after another injury-riddled year for Filip Chytil.

Vegas’ Role Players Available in Free AgencyRangers Should Target These Vegas Golden Knights in Free Agency

With Goodrow’s departure, the Rangers could look to add external help to their fourth line should they choose not to utilize internal help from players such as Adam Edstrom, Matt Rempe, and Jonny Brodzinski. Both William Carrier and Michael Amadio are reliable depth adds whom Drury could pursue.

Carrier has been a presence in Vegas’ bottom six during their playoff runs, utilizing his size (6-foot-2, 220 pounds) to be a heavy presence on the forecheck. He is reliable defensively and has good five-on-five metrics for a fourth-line forward, posting a 53.89 CF%.

With just 39 games played this season, Carrier is an injury risk, but when healthy, he has proven to be a very effective player. His teammate, Amadio, has emerged during his three seasons with Vegas. The 6-foot-1 forward has scored 27 points in his past two seasons, posting 16 and 14 goals, respectively.

Both forwards would be relatively inexpensive additions for the Rangers. They would add a veteran presence to the fourth line and increase the roster’s overall depth. There are several intriguing options available from the Golden Knights camp that Drury should intently consider. The Rangers need forward help, particularly on the right side, and Vegas has free-agent options who could provide just what the Blueshirts need.

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