Rangers Address Depth Center, Reach Deal With Ex-Hab Desharnais

Blueshirts Still Have Decent Amount Of Salary Cap Space To Work With, And Could End Up With Even More

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Rangers seem content to have Mika Zibanejad and Kevin Hayes as their top two centers.

The Blueshirts took a step toward solidifying their bottom-six pivots earlier this week, agreeing to a reported one-year, $1 million contract with veteran David Desharnais.

MORE: Rangers, Jesper Fast Agree To 3-Year Contract

The team officially announced the agreement on Wednesday.

Desharnais, who will turn 31 in September, had his best season back in 2011-12 when he put up 60 points, including 44 assists, with the Montreal Canadiens. He will likely replace fourth-line center Oscar Lindberg, who was taken by the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft.

David Desharnais

Oilers center David Desharnais skates against the Canucks on April 9, 2017 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)

Desharnais spent his first seven-plus seasons in Montreal before he was traded to the Edmonton Oilers in February. Overall, the 5-foot-7 forward had 14 points in 49 regular season games and added another four points in 13 playoff games last season.

The Rangers have been busy this offseason, as they try to retool but at the same time get younger. They announced their intention to buy out veteran defenseman Dan Girardi back in mid-June and then traded center Derek Stepan and backup goalie Antti Raanta to the Arizona Coyotes for the No. 7 overall pick in the draft and 21-year-old defenseman Anthony DeAngelo a little over a week later. The trade also freed up significant salary cap space.

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General manager Jeff Gorton then signed Kevin Shattenkirk, the top defenseman on the market, to a four-year, $26.6 million contract on July 1, and also added veteran goaltender Ondrej Pavelec on a one-year deal.

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The Desharnais deal leaves the Rangers with roughly $7.3 million in available cap space, with restricted free agent Zibanejad still needing a new contract. There has also been speculation that veteran defenseman Kevin Klein could retire or go play in Europe. If so, the Blueshirts would have roughly $10.2 million to work with.

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