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Rangers re-sign Vladislav Namestnikov, sign Fredrik Claesson

Rangers center Vladislav Namestnikov moves the puck past

Rangers center Vladislav Namestnikov moves the puck past Washington Capitals right wing T.J. Oshie during a game March 28, 2018. Credit: AP / Nick Wass

While John Tavares shook up the NHL and the other dominoes fell around him, the Rangers spent the first day of free agency Sunday by re-signing restricted free-agent forward Vladislav Namestnikov to a two-year deal worth a reported $8 million and signing restricted free-agent defenseman Fredrik Claesson from the Senators to a one-year deal worth a reported $700,000.

Namestnikov, 25, originally was acquired by the Rangers in the trade-deadline deal that sent captain Ryan McDonagh and forward J.T. Miller to the Lightning and brought back junior prospects Brett Howden and Libor Hajek and a first-round pick, which the Rangers used to select Swedish defenseman Nils Lundkvist in the NHL Draft.

Namestnikov played 62 games with the Lightning and 19 for the Rangers last season and had career highs in goals (22) and points (48). He scored in his first game with the Rangers but finished with only two goals and two assists in 19 games and hardly was dynamic.

Earlier Sunday, there was speculation on Twitter that Namestnikov was considering playing in the KHL next season, but his agent, Dan Milstein, later tweeted that was false.

Namestnikov played center for most of the time he spent with the Rangers last season. The team currently has a logjam at center with Mika Zibanejad, Kevin Hayes, restricted free agent Ryan Spooner and 2017 first-round picks Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil.

Claesson had one goal and six assists in 64 games for Ottawa in 2017-18. He had four goals and 16 assists in 113 career games for Ottawa over parts of three seasons. He is a stay-at-home defenseman and a lefthanded shot.


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