Two days after acquiring forward Barclay Goodrow from the two-time Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning, Rangers general manager Chris Drury responded to a report that the team is close to a deal with the 28-year-old free agent by saying he doesn’t see "any issues’’ with signing Goodrow.
"We’ve talked. We’re making progress. But nothing to report now,’’ Drury said Monday.
"But I don’t anticipate any issues with getting him under contract.’’
The Rangers acquired Goodrow on Saturday before the NHL deadline for teams to submit their protected lists for Wednesday’s expansion draft to stock the incoming Seattle Kraken, the league’s 32nd team. They sent a seventh-round draft pick to Tampa Bay in exchange for the right to negotiate a deal with Goodrow before he hits unrestricted free agency July 28.
Because teams currently are in a roster freeze and the Kraken have exclusive rights to talk to all pending free agents until Thursday, the Rangers can’t sign Goodrow now or even negotiate with him. But former TSN reporter Frank Seravalli reported that the Blueshirts are expected to sign Goodrow once the freeze is lifted. Seravalli said the two sides are likely to agree to a six-year deal with a $3.6 million average annual value.
If they do, the Rangers will have taken a significant step in the process of trying to make their roster tougher, which Drury has said is something he is hoping to do this summer.
Goodrow, who played on the third line for the Lightning the past two seasons, had two goals, four assists and 26 penalty minutes in 18 playoff games for Tampa Bay after recording six goals and 14 assists plus 52 penalty minutes in 55 games in the 2021 regular season.
Speaking on a conference call, Drury called Goodrow a "pretty versatile’’ player who can play center or wing and take faceoffs.
He added, "He is a guy that we targeted and obviously went out and made a deal with Tampa to get him early, to get a jump on it. He just checks off a lot of boxes . . . a little bit more straight-line approach. Obviously, the bigger the game, the better he seems to play. He’s a winner. He’ll be able to walk in our locker room and talk about what it’s like to play in the playoffs and to win Cups.’’
Asked if he is looking to shop the team’s first-round pick in Friday’s entry draft, the No. 15 overall selection, Drury said, "That’s a piece we have, and if we can make the team better with moving that pick or another pick . . . We’ll look at everything.’’
Speaking of Brett Howden, whom the Rangers traded to Vegas on Saturday, Drury called him "a terrific kid,’’ said he "was a good Ranger’’ and thinks "a fresh start will be good for him.’’
Asked about Brendan Smith, who is an unrestricted free agent, he said he has "a ton of respect’’ for Smith and what he did for the team last season.