How the Rangers plan to approach free agency under John Davidson

5/31/19 | On Sirius XM, JD said on Thursday, “no sense in signing a guy to a 7-year contract if it doesn’t fit to what you need down the road. If it fits then you do it the right way.”

5/24/19 | While on the radio this week John Davidson was asked about being active in free agency and said “I think it has to make sense.”

He said, “if you are going to bring in an older free agent and give him a long-term contract when your team isn’t ready for it it’s not good for him or you.”





Davidson said that there is a lot of research and work that goes into adding free agents, especially in regards to health and character, and that you need to ” roll up your sleeves and find the right guys.

While President in Columbus, Davidson’s Blue Jackets only made two big free agent signings: Nathan Horton (7-years, $5.3 million cap hit) and Riley Smith (3-years, $2.75 million).

Horton was 28 when he signed but only played 36 games with the Blue Jackets as he suffered a career ending back injury. His contract was traded to Toronto in exchange for David Clarkson’s contract.

The expectation around the NHL is that the Rangers are going to be active this offseason and have been connected to Artemi Panarin and Erik Karlsson.

Adam Rotter: It’s hard to draw much from JD’s time in Columbus and St. Louis with free agents because neither of those teams have the resources or are the attraction of New York or the Rangers. Nathan Horton was a signing that made sense to help a young Blue Jackets team grow but injuries stopped that. He wasn’t in charge but you better believe that John Davidson remembers the Bobby Holik and Darius Kasparaitis, among others, contracts that the Rangers gave out in the late 90s and early 2000s. JD isn’t going to rush things or push the Rangers into making big offers for middling players but neither Artemi Panarin or Erik Karlsson are middling players. Will the Rangers make a play for both or either? Probably, but I don’t expect the Rangers to go all out or provide either player with their best offer. If, like Kevin Shattenkirk, Panarin or Karlsson are determined to play for the Rangers then something will likely get done, but it will be a deal much more on the Rangers’ terms than the players. I think the Rangers will be active in looking to upgrade but only on short-term deals that still give them flexibility moving forward.