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The New York Rangers locked up restricted free agent defenseman Anthony DeAngelo to a two-year pact Thursday, but with a lopsided group of blueliners on the right side, the New York Post's Larry Brooks writes that Rangers' general manager Jeff Gorton and his staff have had internal discussions about moving either DeAngelo or Adam Fox to the left side.
With Jacob Trouba, Fox and DeAngelo on the right side, the Rangers would be better off if one player moves to the left, which isn't as strong with Jack Johnson, Ryan Lindgren and Brendan Smith leading the way, not exactly what you're looking for on one side. The Rangers then might have an opening to bring in top prospect Nils Lundqvist, the 28th overall pick in 2018, to join the team's top six after his SHL season ends in early March, although they would still have to convince him to sign his entry-level deal.
Brooks also noted that the recent two-year deals handed out to both DeAngelo and goaltender Alexandar Georgiev suggest that both players could be trade candidates in a year as a two-year contract makes them easier to trade down the road then if there were both restricted free agents once again.
- This should be a critical year for Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno, who is entering the final year of the six-year, $33M contract he signed back in 2014. The Athletic's Aaron Portzline (subscription required) writes that while Foligno has played mostly in top-six roles over the years, that role is changing, especially with his decline in offense after posting 10 goals and 31 points in 67 games last season. While head coach John Tortorella has said that he intends to be more aggressive this year and have Foligno play a big role in that, the 32-year-old will have to fight off a number of players for a top-six role, including Alexandre Texier. With other top forwards coming in in the next couple of years, Foligno's role will have to change. Despite his respect around the organization and his love for the city of Columbus, the veteran will have to take a significant pay cut if he wants to stay for the remainder of his career.
- One question that many fans are asking is whether the New Jersey Devils are done making moves. One area of weakness is on the team's blueline where they have Ryan Murray and Will Butcher on the right side and Damon Severson and P.K. Subban on the left. However, the team has little else in terms of depth with injury-prone Connor Carrick and rookie Ty Smith the likely candidates for the third-pairing role. The Athletic's Corey Masisak (subscription required) suggests the team could try and add a veteran via free agency, but there aren't many options left. The team could circle back around to Sami Vatanen, but the team may be looking at the trade market as well with cap space being one of the few assets the team has.
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