It was clear the New York Rangers weren’t going to be able to keep Ryane Clowe, but very few people expected him to head to their most bitter rival.
Clowe signed a five-year deal with the New Jersey Devils on Friday afternoon. The deal is reportedly worth $4.85 million per year. Clowe was traded this year to the Rangers for a few draft picks; Clowe had 0 goals with the San Jose Sharks before being traded. He scored three goals with the Rangers in the regular season and only played in one game in the playoffs. He suffered two speculated concussions towards the end of the year.
The Rangers did not even put an offer on the table for Clowe. With the cap floor dropping so much, the Rangers really had no choice but to let Clowe walk. There were rumors that they were trying to trade his negotiating right to a team in order to get something in return for him. But no teams bit and Clowe became an unrestricted free agent with no offer from the Rangers.
The Rangers have already made offers to their coveted restricted free agents Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin, Mats Zuccarello and Justin Falk. There was no way the Rangers would be able to keep Clowe with all these guys needing to be signed. While losing Clowe hurts, it is not a huge loss for the team. He is a player that can be replaced easily.
The Rangers will be seeing Clowe a lot next season as he heads to the Devils. The Rangers will miss his physicality, but he was not a huge loss.