Could the Rangers strengthen their defense with a recently bought-out former All-Star?

Jan 12, 2023; New York, New York, USA; Dallas Stars defenseman Ryan Suter (20) and New York Rangers center Jonny Brodzinski (76) battle for the puck during the third period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers are entering another crucial offseason with plenty of questions. After winning the President’s Trophy with a franchise record 114 points, the Blueshirts fell in game six of the Eastern Conference Finals to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Florida Panthers.

The blue and white are looking to make some changes this offseason and have already made a couple of moves to shape next year’s squad, in re-signing Kaapo Kakko to a one-year, $2.4 million contract and placing veteran forward Barclay Goodrow to get his $3.641 million cap hit off the books.

Yet there is still plenty to do for president and general manager Chris Drury. While much of the attention has been on the Rangers’ need for a top-six right winger to play alongside Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider, the defensive core also needs some work.

Erik Gustafsson is set to leave the team in free agency, Ryan Lindgren and Braden Schneider are restricted free agents, and Jacob Trouba is rumored to be getting shopped around due to his high cap hit.

With the defensive core needing some help, could the Rangers target a recently bought-out former all-star?

The Rangers could target Ryan Suter in free agency

Ryan Suter, Rangers
Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

According to Jeff Marek, the Dallas Stars are buying out the final year of Ryan Suter’s four-year contract, the 39-year-old signed back in 2021 that paid $4.3 million annually.

Suter just finished his 19th season in the NHL and, at one point, was among the league’s top defenders. The Wisconsin native has scored 105 goals and registered 576 assists for 681 points across 1444 regular-season games while being a plus 120 and blocking 1779 shots.

The 39-year-old has appeared in 133 playoff games, scoring seven goals and registering 37 assists for 44 points while blocking 201 shots, but has a negative 28 plus/minus.

Could Suter make sense?

Ryan Suter, Rangers
Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

While Suter seemed to lose the trust of the Stars staff by the end of the postseason, the 39-year-old could carve a solid role for himself on the Rangers bottom pair.

The Wisconsin native played an average of 18:56 per game last season and still managed to be an extremely effective two-way defenseman. The Blueshirts will likely have a void in the defensive corps, and that’s before factoring in the fact that they may trade their captain in Trouba. With Trouba gone, the Rangers will need leadership, and Suter’s ability to lead has been raved about everywhere the 39-year-old has played.

Plus, with Suter still being paid by the Minnesota Wild and the Dallas Stars, he most likely won’t cost much more than the veteran minimum, especially with the 39-year-old likely looking to join a contender for what could be his last chance to lift the Stanley Cup.

The fit is there, and with the low risk of signing Suter, Drury should take a hard look at the former all-star defenseman.

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