The New York Rangers have agreed to terms with restricted free agent defenseman Ryan McDonagh on a six-year, $28.2 million contract.
The new deal announced Monday will carry an annual salary-cap hit of $4.7 million for New York, which is close to the financial ceiling with players still left to re-sign, such as forwards Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin.
But reaching an agreement with the 24-year-old McDonagh, a cornerstone defenseman, was key. Had he received an offer sheet from another team, the cap-challenged Rangers could have been forced to let him go or make trades to free up space to keep him.
“I couldn’t be happier about it,” McDonagh told the New York Times. “It’s just great to see the Rangers show confidence in me as far as the terms and the years — everything together is a great feeling.”
McDonagh said he had not spoken with the Rangers’ new coach, Alain Vigneault, but was looking forward to playing more of an offensive role in Vigneault’s system. McDonagh said he had “nothing but respect” for former coach John Tortorella, fired in May and hired as Vancouver coach.
“He was my first coach when I first got in the league, and he gave me an opportunity and taught me a lot, especially about the mental side of the game,” McDonagh said. “I wish him nothing but the best.”
After signing McDonagh, Rangers general manager Glen Sather has $6.56 million left to spend before reaching the salary cap, and it is believed that he can sign Stepan and Hagelin with that money.
McDonagh had four goals and 15 assists in 46 games last season and ranked second on the team with 78 blocked shots, third in average ice time at over 24 minutes per game, and fourth with a plus-13 rating.
Corvo back to Ottawa
The Ottawa Senators signed defenseman Joe Corvo to a one-year deal reportedly worth $900,000. Corvo, 36, returns to the Senators after playing for Washington, Carolina, and the Bruins. He was previously with Ottawa in 2006-07 and 2007-08, and was on the Senators team that went to the Stanley Cup Final.
The Senators acquired right winger Bobby Ryan from the Anaheim Ducks last week as part of an effort to replace captain Daniel Alfredsson. On the blue line, Ottawa must make up for the loss of veteran Sergei Gonchar, who was traded to Dallas. Corvo had six goals and 11 assists in 40 games for the Hurricanes last season. In 689 career NHL games, he has 89 goals and 211 assists.
Coyotes lease signed
The prospective owners of the Phoenix Coyotes have signed their lease agreement for Jobing.com Arena. Daryl Jones, partner with Renaissance Sports & Entertainment, tweeted that the lease agreement with the City of Glendale has been executed. The Glendale City Council approved a 15-year, $225 million arena lease deal with RSE during a special session last week. RSE still has to complete its purchase of the team and get approval from the NHL’s Board of Governors, but those are expected to be formalities. The Coyotes have been run by the league the past four years after former owner Jerry Moyes took the team into bankruptcy in 2009 . . . The Washington Capitals signed defenseman Tyson Strachan, right wing Matt Watkins, and goaltender David Leggio to one-year, two-way contracts . . . Islanders goalie Kevin Poulin accepted the team’s one-year, two-way qualifying offer. He will be competing to be the backup to recently re-signed veteran Evgeni Nabokov . . . Winnipeg Jets center Alexander Burmistrov signed a two-year deal with Ak Bars Kazan of Russia’s KHL. The 21-year-old had just four goals and six assists in 44 NHL games last season, and fell out of favor with the Jets. He was a restricted free agent and the Jets retain his NHL rights.