The New York Rangers could pursue signing former New Jersey Devils defenseman Mark Fayne if free agent Anton Stralman ultimately leaves the team, reports Larry Brooks of the New York Post. Stralman is expected to sign elsewhere when free agency begins on July 1.
With the Rangers needing someone to replace Stralman on their second pair of defensemen, Brooks says they “have checked in with and have legitimate interest” in acquiring Fayne, an unrestricted free agent. It’s unclear whether such a move would ultimately save the team money, but Pro Hockey Talk notes that “Fayne, 27, compares fairly favorably to Stralman,” in advanced statistics.
As Stralman garners interest after the Rangers’ Stanley Cup Final run this year, Fayne may end up being the more reasonable target if New York hopes to maintain some cap flexibility. His cap hit last season was just $1.3 million, so a raise would still keep him at a fairly affordable rate.
Last season, Fayne played in 72 games with the Devils, recording four goals and 11 points. He’s been with New Jersey since making his NHL debut in 2010, and played a key role during the team’s run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2012, so he’s familiar with playing on a big stage.
Brooks also says that the Rangers could pursue another New Jersey free agent, Ryan Carter, to fill the fourth-line role vacated by free agent Brian Boyle. So it appears the two rivals won’t just be competing on the ice later this year; first, they’ll be fighting some battles this offseason.