The New York Rangers have already had quite a busy offseason, bringing in veteran talents such as Blake Wheeler, Jonathan Quick and Nick Bonino, among others, yet they still have some important contracts left to sign. Both defenseman K’Andre Miller and forward Alexis Lafreniere were sitting without contracts for the 2023-24 NHL season, but the Rangers now have half of that list taken care of.
The team announced via a press release that Miller signed a two-year, $7.74M contract, paying him an average annual value of $3.872M. This seems like a fair deal for both sides, factoring in that Colorado Avalanche defenseman, Bowen Byram, signed a similar bridge deal last week.
In his first full season in New York, Miller became quite the positive force on the team’s back end. Playing in all 82 games for the 2021-22 season, Miller scored seven goals and 13 assists, playing just over 20 minutes a night. Miller also has a physical edge to his game, supplying the team with 151 hits in that same year. To add, he was one of a limited number of defensemen to have more takeaways than giveaways and also produced an oiSV% of 92.4%.
This past year, Miller’s offensive capabilities became much more of a factor in his game. Receiving much more time on the power play, Miller doubled his offensive output from the previous season, scoring nine goals and 34 assists in 79 games. His underlying defensive metrics did take a small dip but were still positive nonetheless.
Although signing Miller to an affordable bridge deal is great news for the Rangers, there are some negative externalities to this deal as well. Before the contract is officially added to the ledger, New York had around $6.18M in cap space. Now that Miller has signed with an AAV of $3.872M, this only leaves just under $2.4M left in space to sign Lafreniere. Thankfully for the Rangers, Lafreniere does not yet have arbitration rights, so the team will still have a little bit of control on his next deal.