We’re officially entering the dog days of summer in the NHL. Minus a few salary arbitration hearings, news is slow for the New York Rangers. I’ve done a few pieces looking at current free agents who would either work with the Rangers or wouldn’t be a good fit whatsoever.
Speaking of free agents, I think Brian Boyle leaving for the Tampa Bay Lightning was an underrated loss for New York. Boyle’s had struggles in his career finding a role that could suit him as well as helping the team win. Until this year, that is, when he was able to put it all together and became a fourth-line center willing to do the dirty work. Boyle always found himself near the puck, whether it was setting up a teammate or even putting himself in front of one.
Looking at the free agent market, a good replacement for Boyle would be Ryan Carter. I’m sure Rangers fans know him very well from the 2012 Eastern Conference Final. Carter played for the New Jersey Devils this past season and probably will re-sign with them, but the Rangers should definitely inquire about his services. Carter’s what you want in a fourth liner, as he’s good with checks and can score at key moments. He’s not afraid to drop the gloves either, and for around $1.3 million a year, that’s a pretty good investment.
Carter is a good fourth liner and can fit well into Alain Vigneault‘s system. This is a signing that the Rangers need: Someone who can fill an important role for cheap while giving the team a little bit of toughness. Putting J.T. Miller on the fourth line wouldn’t work in my opinion, because for him to develop he needs to see more ice time. The same goes for other Rangers prospects like Danny Kristo and Jesper Fast.
While I don’t expect the Rangers to sign Carter, it’s something they definitely should look into. With him, losing Boyle won’t be as bad, while you’re helping your prospects develop with more ice time. If New York has some interest, now would be the time to call him up.