With the departure of Benoit Pouliot, on the first day of NHL free agency on July 1st, the New York Rangers have yet to replace that vacant roster spot left by Pouliot on the Rangers’ 3rd line. That is until now.
Late last night it was reported by TSN‘s Darren Dreger that the Rangers have signed 31-year-old unrestricted free agent veteran winger and native New Yorker, Lee Stempniak to a one year deal.
Today the one year deal with the Rangers was confirmed and the dollar amount was announced. To the surprise of many, Stempniak’s one year deal is only going to cost the Rangers $900K. This after Stempniak’s most recent contract was worth $2.5 million. His market value this year was said to be anywhere from $1.5-2 million, so the Rangers signing Stempniak for less than $1 million is already a steal, even if you do not know much about him.
For those of you who do not know of Stempniak, he is a bottom six winger with speed, a sneaky wrist shot, and a solid defense. A very well-rounded player overall, Stempniak is a quintessential third line player who should be able to slide right in and take the place of Pouliot in the Rangers’ lineup this upcoming season.
Last season Stempniak recorded a total of 12 goals and 22 assists in 73 games played for both the Calgary Flames and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Also adding another two goals and one assist in 13 postseason games with the Penguins.
Overall, I believe this was a solid signing by Rangers GM Glen Sather as Stempniak’s skill set should be able to thrive in Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault‘s system, while adding more depth to the Rangers’ bottom six forwards.