The New York Rangers have come to terms with a restricted free agent. Unfortunately, it was not Derek Stepan.
Yesterday the Rangers announced that they signed restricted free agent AHLer Brandon Mashinter to a one-year, two-way contract worth $605 thousand.
Most of the 2013 lockout-shortened season Mashinter was in Connecticut playing for the Rangers AHL affliate, Connecticut Whale, but he did manage to crack the Rangers starting roster for a few games last season. Mashinter played in four games with the Blueshirts in 2013 and did not register a single point. His rating was -2 overall.
Granted, it was only four games, but Mashinter is not a type of player that will be playing significant minutes with the Rangers next season (or any other team for that matter). Mashinter is purely a depth player, who at best in the NHL will be a career healthy scratch/replacement player. Not trying to be harsh but I am just telling it like it is.
Now the only restricted free agent left to sign, at the NHL or AHL level, is none other than center Derek Stepan, who I would expect the Rangers to sign sooner rather than later. There is always the chance that some team would take the risk of sending Stepan an offer sheet, but since the compensation a team would have to give in order to get Stepan would be costly, I highly doubt a team will chance that regardless of the numerous rumors.
But since no one ever knows, I think it would be wise for Rangers GM Glen Sather to get Stepan under contract as soon as possible.