Welcome back for part III. This week we'll cover the New York Rangers, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, Nashville Predators, Montreal Canadiens, and Minnesota Wild. The previous sections in this ongoing series can be found here.
You will see the trend continue this week, where some teams have little in the way of unrestricted free agents. This is due at least in part to the expansion draft, as teams aim to have several viable options for the Seattle Kraken to choose from. Also, in part due to the pandemic and players wanting a second or third year on a contract for job security.
I can't recall another season where so many teams had this many bottom-six roster players under contract.
You can once again find the link to Alex MacLean's UFA salary projections here.
New York Rangers – Anthony DeAngelo, Age 25, Defense ($4.8M)
I know, I know, he's not an unrestricted free agent. But he is more interesting to discuss than Jack Johnson, Brendan Smith or Phillip Di Giuseppe. Unless you play in the absolute deepest of pools those three won't move the needle for you.
Now, if I look into my crystal ball, I can justify this by predicting DeAngelo will be an unrestricted free-agent as soon as the Rangers enter the buy-out window.
It's also entirely possible no one signs DeAngelo. It's more likely though, a team will sign him for dirt cheap on a short-term contract to give him one more chance. He is young with loads of skill. That, more often than not, draws teams to players – regardless of baggage.
Time will tell where or if he lands. His limitations are all off-ice. From a value stand-point, if/when the Rangers buy him out DeAngelo will hold the potential to be the best value contract available this summer.
I don't see any scenario where he returns in a Rangers uniform next season. That ship has already sailed. I also don't see another team willing to make a trade, even for a bad contract to acquire DeAngelo. There is significantly more risk at $4.8M than $1M.
Owning DeAngelo is a controversial decision in real life and fantasy – that becomes a personal and potentially a moral laden choice. I will stick to the facts. On a cheap contract, there's potential of him being fantastic bang for the buck… if he can sign one.
New York Islanders – Kyle Palmieri, Age 30, Right Wing ($4.65M)
It has not been a season Palmieri will want to remember. As poor as it was in New Jersey things only got worse after the trade to the Islanders.
I don't think anyone expected Palmieri to have four points in 17 games with the Islanders. We all know the Islanders don't scoring much but those numbers are Taylor Hall-in-Buffalo bad (too soon?). There have been signs of life in the playoffs but unless there is a prolonged stretch of dominant play, I don't see the playoffs offsetting his poor regular season.
Hopefully, General Managers learned from the summer of 2016. I don't know if more mistakes were made in a single summer of free agency as in that summer. It was