What acquiring Adam Fox means for the Rangers on defense

With their acquisition and expected signing of defenseman Adam Fox, the Rangers will add another under-22 defenseman to the organization.

Fox joins a group of right shot defensemen that include Kevin Shattenkirk, Brendan Smith, Tony DeAngelo and Neal Pionk.

Shattenkirk ($6.65 million) and Smith ($4.35 million) are both signed for two-more seasons while DeAngelo and Pionk are RFAs.





On the left side the Rangers have Marc Staal, Brady Skjei, Libor Hajek and Freddy Claesson in the NHL and Ryan Lindgren in Hartford.

Staal ($5.7 million) has two-more years on his contract, Skjei ($5.25 million) has five-years, Hajek and Lindgren have two-more years on their entry-level contracts and Claesson is an RFA.

  • Staal has a no-move clause
  • Shattenkirk has a no-move and modified no-trade
  • Smith has a modified no-trade

If the Rangers were to buy out the final two-years of Shattenkirk and/or Smith and/or Staal’s contracts the cap hits would be:

  • 2019-20: Smith $970,3833 | Shattenkirk $1.483 million | Staal $2.9 million
  • 2020-21: Smith: $3.145 million | Shattenkirk $6.083 million | $3.7 million
  • 2021-22: Smith: $1.45 million | Shattenkirk $1.433 million | $1.2 million
  • 2022-23: Smith: $1.45 million | Shattenkirk $1.433 million | $1.2 million

Larry Brooks writes in the NY Post that the Rangers will “almost certainly” attempt to trade Shattenkirk this summer and would be willing to eat up to 50% of his contract. (NY Post)

Brooks says that the Rangers attempted to do the same at the trade deadline but only had “nibbles” from teams looking to shed an onerous contract. (NY Post)

John Gilmour and Rob O’Gara are both slated to be UFAs this summer.

2018 first round picks K’Andre Miller and NIls Lundkvist are not expected to be with the organization next season.

Yegor Rykov, who was acquired for Michael Grabner in 2018, could potentially come to North America for next season.

Prospects Brandon Crawley and Sean Day both have one year left on their entry-level deals.

Adam Rotter: The Rangers carried and rotated eight defensemen for most of this past season and it could be easy to see them do the same next season. Which eight though will play itself out over the summer and in training camp. I’m not sure if the Rangers are going to buy anyone out but Brendan Smith would probably be the most likely candidate. He doesn’t necessarily deserve to be bought out based upon how he played up front and on defense but if the Rangers are unable to move him and retain salary a buyout is certainly possible. With the need for veterans on defense and his standing as the second longest tenured Ranger I think Marc Staal will return.

Then there is Kevin Shattenkirk who fits the bill of a veteran but also someone who needs the same kind of minutes and PP time to succeed that Tony DeAngelo, Neal Pionk and Adam Fox would need as well on the right side. Shattenkirk has some protection that can influence where he goes in a trade but there should be a bigger market for him this summer, when teams have more cap space, than at the deadline. It would be a bit of a complex trade to make, with finding a team Shattenkirk would go to and absorbing salary and other assets but one the Rangers are likely going to investigate.

Libor Hajek was very impressive in his brief tenure before getting hurt, Tony DeAngelo progressed in a big way and, if healthy, Neal Pionk has shown to be a capable NHLer so far. Hajek, Fox and Lindgren all can go to Hartford without waivers, and that has an impact but the Rangers will start the year with the players who earn it in training camp and make adjustments along the way.