Barclay Goodrow brings just what the NY Rangers needed

In a team full of high draft picks and top prospects, Barclay Goodrow took a very different path than the New York Rangers.

The 28-year-old striker went from undrafted to two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He was rewarded with a six-year contract, the Rangers announced on Thursday. A person familiar with the situation told the USA TODAY Network that the deal is worth $ 21.85 million.

For Goodrow, signing with the Blueshirts brought him back to a place where he thought he might get his first NHL opportunity.

“It’s actually crazy,” he said on Friday during a Zoom call. “I was here at the (Rangers’) development camp in 2012 and was supposed to come back for the rookie tournament in Traverse City, but then the lockout happened so that process kind of stopped.”

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Born in Toronto, he didn’t get another chance with the Rangers, but signed with the San Jose Sharks in 2014. He shuttled between the NHL and AHL for a few years before finally staying in the 2017-18 season.

Two years later he was traded to Tampa and became a key player in the bottom six on consecutive championship teams.

“I always feel like I have to prove myself,” he said. “And I will continue to do that with the Rangers.”

Goodrow openly admits, “I’m not the type who will score 30 goals or score a ton of points” – he’s never dwarfed 26 points in a season – but his worth lies in his relentless style of play and willingness to do so to do dirty work.

“I’m not signing here to be a player I am not,” he said. “I’m the guy who will be difficult to play against, who will score penalties, who will give my team momentum, who will stand up for my teammates, who will take the lead. I’ve learned something.” it takes to win at that level. “

This is music to the ears of Rangers front office boss Chris Drury, who earlier this week said Goodrow was “checking a lot of boxes”.

The team president and GM are committed to making the Rangers – whom Goodrow described as “very competent” – into a tougher, more physique team headed into the next season. New head coach Gerard Gallant is expected to bring a fast-paced, aggressive, defensive-oriented system to New York that the 6-foot-2, 203-pounder should fit right into.

“I know the mindset you need to win,” he said. “I just like to share that as best I can and I’m a leader for a squad that’s not the oldest in the league.”

TAMPA, FLORIDA - JULY 07: Barclay Goodrow # 19 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates with the Stanley Cup after beating the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 in the fifth game of the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena on July 7th, 2021 in Tampa, Florida.

Goodrow’s defensive play is a strength, according to Evolving Hockey, with 1.94 goals conceded per 60 expected for consistent strength last season. He was also Tampa’s most used striker on penalties.

The Rangers believe their latest addition will bring versatile play in both the center and wing. His 52% career face-off win rate is better than any of his current centers.

“Anyway,” said Goodrow when asked where he was more comfortable. “I’ve played more wings in recent years, but more center before that. Even the way our system has been in recent years, there really wasn’t a designated winger or center man. It’s just the way you come.” into the zone, this is the position you will be playing. I feel like I’ve achieved a lot from both … and I’m pretty confident in both positions. “

Terms of contract

How exactly it is used is dictated by the rest of the off-season.

The Rangers are in the center market, but if they end up trading one of their current middle six pivots – Ryan Strome or Filip Chytil – they have the option to fit in Goodrow.

He’s likely destined for the third line, which calls into question the decision to give him an average annual value of $ 3.642 million. That’s a lot for a player who doesn’t get a lot, but there’s no question the Rangers need the skills that Goodrow brings to the table. His presence instantly makes them a more imposing team.

If they hadn’t reached an agreement by Wednesday, he would have become an unreserved free agent. Multiple sources have indicated that there were other teams willing to go six years as they neared $ 4 million per season.

The Rangers sent a round seven selection to Tampa for the exclusive negotiation window in 2022, knowing that Goodrow’s terms and conditions – and understanding that players coming out of championships have inflated prices in an open market. Instead of allowing him to test this market, they went the time necessary to lock him up. And while the contract could be prohibitive in the years to come when their best young players get new deals, a lot can happen before these negotiations begin.

For now, the Rangers – who will free up over $ 4.4 million in salary caps with the upcoming Tony DeAngelo acquisition – have roughly $ 21 million left for this off-season.

“A pretty easy decision”

The hat-buckled Lightning was unable to re-sign Goodrow, which he had in mind during his final playoff run.

“It was a roller coaster ride,” he said. “As much as you don’t want to think about the future when you’re in the middle of the Stanley Cup playoffs, I think I realized – and other guys on the team – that there is a good chance I wouldn’t be back in Tampa and I would move to another team and city. During the whole process, I didn’t know where that would be. “

In the end, it was the Rangers who gave him nearly 22 million reasons to make New York his new home. They are hands down a better team for this as future financial concerns fade to their desire to take a step forward in 2021-22.

“It was a pretty easy decision,” said Goodrow. “The Rangers are such a traditional franchise – the story here, the city. Once they showed a little interest, that was all I needed. I was very excited to join this team from the start. “

Vincent Z. Mercogliano is the New York Rangers Beat Reporter for the USA TODAY Network. Read more about his work at lohud.com/sports/rangers/ and follow him on Twitter @vzmercogliano.

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