Rangers veteran forward may have saved himself from a buyout

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Rangers at Florida Panthers
Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers‘ postseason aspirations were abruptly halted by the Florida Panthers, following a promising start. While many of the team’s top players faded as the playoffs progressed, one veteran made a significant impact that might just secure his place on the team a little longer.

New York Rangers’ Playoff Journey and Barclay Goodrow’s Role

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Rangers at Florida Panthers
Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Despite having a challenging regular season, 31-year-old Barclay Goodrow emerged as a key contributor during the playoffs. During the 2024 regular season, Goodrow only managed four goals and eight assists across 80 games, marking a significant drop from his 31-point performance in the 2022–23 season. His -13 plus-minus rating and overall decline raised concerns about his future with the Rangers.

However, Goodrow’s postseason performance told a different story. He racked up eight points, including three critical ones against the Panthers, proving to be one of the Rangers’ most effective players when it mattered most. This resurgence in the playoffs may have saved him from a potential buyout of his contract this offseason.

What Should the Rangers Do With Goordrow?

New York Rangers center Barclay Goodrow (21) during the third period against the New Jersey Devils in game six of the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden

Goodrow is set to enter the fourth year of a $21.85 million deal signed in 2021, with a cap hit of $3.64 million for the next season.

The Rangers face a decision: they could buy out his contract to free up a roster spot, which would net them $247,222 in savings during the buyout period. Yet, given his recent playoff performance and the fact that he is nearing 32 years old, trading him might be a preferable option. However, moving Goodrow could be complicated by his 15-team no-trade list, which restricts potential destinations.

Despite anchoring the fourth line—a role that may not justify his salary—Goodrow’s ability to step up in crucial games could argue for his retention. As the Rangers look to refine their lineup and make improvements for the next season, Goodrow’s future remains uncertain. His potential for a rebound next year might enhance his value either to the Rangers or in the trade market, but for now, his playoff performance has likely earned him a reprieve from immediate exit discussions.

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