The New York Rangers struck gold on day one of free agency, but turned their attention to look for more depth on the second day.
General manager Chris Drury accomplished that goal today. Early Thursday morning, Drury and the Ranger’s front office agreed to terms with Ryan Carpenter and Andy Welinski.
Carpenter, a 31 year old center formerly of the Calgary Flames, agreed to a one year deal worth $750,000 to bolster the fourth line of the Blueshirts. The former Flame notched three goals and nine assists for 12 points in 67 games with the Calgary Flames and Chicago Blackhawks.
Carpenter was traded in March from Chicago to Calgary, but was third on the Blackhawks in face-off win percentage and shorthand ice time.
The Rangers acquired Carpenter as a depth piece, but also for his work in the community. The 31 year old is a former Yanick Dupre Memorial Award winner, presented annually to the American Hockey League’s man of the year for service to his local community.
With Carpenter, the Rangers have now added players in free agency at, above, or about to become 30 years old signaling a change in the way they have constructed their roster. With a plethora of draft prospects and an even balance of veteran leadership, the Rangers are now looking for pieces that can help the team win a Stanley Cup. With Kevin Rooney leaving for Calgary, New found a serviceable replacement.
Carpenter certainly helps the team’s depth at center, but he was not the only move the Rangers made over the last 24 hours.
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According to CapFriendly, New York also signed defenseman Andy Welinski to a one year, two-way contract worth up to $750,000 were he to make it to the NHL.
A third-round pick of the Anaheim Ducks in 2011, Welinski has played parts of three NHL seasons, all with Anaheim. The Rangers lost both Justin Braun in free agency, and traded away Patrik Nemeth so the team was looking for more experienced depth on the defensive end.
New York will most likely place Carpenter on the fourth line to pair with Ryan Reaves and Barclay Goodrow.
The team was strung for cash after signing Vincent Trocheck, but acquired much needed depth as they continue to build their team to get back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
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