The Rangers signed the last of their arbitration-eligible restricted free agents Tuesday when they agreed to a two-year deal with forward Ryan Spooner. The deal is worth $4 million per year.
Like Monday’s one-year, $5.175-million deal with forward Kevin Hayes, the agreement with Spooner avoids an arbitration hearing. It also demonstrates that the rebuilding Rangers didn’t want to make a long-term commitment, and makes it likely the team will look to trade Spooner at the deadline as it looks to play its younger players and keep trying to accumulate assets to put into its rebuild. Besides Spooner and Hayes, the Rangers also signed short-term deals with RFA forwards Vladimir Namestnikov (two years, $8 million) and Jimmy Vesey (two years, $4.55 million). Only defenseman Brady Skjei got a long term deal, signing a six-year, $31.5-million contract on Saturday.
Spooner, 26, played in 59 games last season for the Boston Bruins and Rangers, scoring 13 goals with 28 assists. He came to the Rangers from Boston the day before the trade deadline as part of the return for Rick Nash. He played in 20 games with the Rangers, scoring four goals with 12 assists. Originally a second-round pick by Boston in the 2010 NHL draft, Spooner has played in 273 career games in parts of six seasons, collecting 45 goals and 113 assists.
The 5-10, 187-pound Spooner, who played center with Boston, was used mainly as a winger with the Rangers and showed the versatility to play up and down the lineup, either at center or wing.