The New York Rangers are pressed up against the upper limit of the 2014-15 salary cap, have lost a solid chunk of their Prince of Wales trophy winning squad in free agency, and still have three arbitration hearings scheduled for the next two weeks with key restricted free agent forwards Derick Brassard, Mats Zuccarello and Chris Kreider. Those players aren't going to be cheap, so additional roster surgery may still be required.
Considering their strapped circumstances, it's not a surprise that the typically big spending Rangers have had a quiet offseason. Quiet might be putting it too mildly actually. Aside from ageing defender Dan Boyle, New York's other most notable signing this summer is probably fourth-line forward Tanner Glass...
Though the Rangers were reportedly in on the wary bidding for free agent center Mike Ribeiro before the skilled pivot chose to sign with the Nashville Predators, the club has dipped back into the pool of leftover free agents, signing veteran winger Lee Stempniak according to the snidest report of all time from Larry Brooks of the New York Post:
Stempniak has generally preformed like a capable if unspectacular middle-line forward throughout his career. During the 2013-14 season, the 31-year-old - who originally hails from N.Y. state - managed 12 goals in 73 games with the Calgary Flames and the Pittsburgh Penguins. He went quiet in the postseason though, managing just two goals in 13 playoff games for the Penguins.
That lack of postseason production - despite getting the occasional look with Sidney Crosby at the absolute top of the Penguins lineup - likely explains why a solid, reliable NHL veteran like Stempniak was still available at this point in July. Though he's far from a "sexy" name, on a one-year deal worth less than $1 million, Stempniak seems likely to provide the Rangers with excellent value next season.