The New York Rangers have agreed to terms with restricted free agent forward Brett Howden. The deal is for one season. This is the first move New York has made since their season ended, but they could be among the most aggressive teams this summer. The organization announced the signing Friday morning. The Brett Howden deal carries a value of $885,000, which was first reported by New York Post’s Mollie Walker.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) July 9, 2021
Rangers Re-Sign Brett Howden
Howden was very much a marginal player in 2020-21. The Calgary native appeared in just 42 out of a possible 56 games with one goal and seven points. He averaged just 12:34 per game, which is over a half-minute less than 2019-20 and two minutes fewer than his rookie season in 2018-19. Howden did contribute 57 hits and 35 blocks, but that is arguably not enough to make up for a 40.4 percent Corsi For and -10.3 relative Corsi. Some of the lack of production could be from the short season though.
The Tampa Bay Lightning originally drafted Howden 27th overall in the 2016 Draft, but traded him to the Rangers in 2018 in a deal that also included Ryan McDonagh. Overall, Howden has just 16 goals and 49 points in 178 games since he debuted. That isn’t great, but New York has been rebuilding for much of his career. We need at least another season’s worth of games before we can start making any serious predictions about someone who is still just 23.
What This Means
This deal is likely Howden’s last opportunity to stick with the Rangers. One-year deals essentially force the player to “prove” they belong. That might be tough considering New York’s young depth, but nobody knows what rosters will look like after expansion and the start of free agency. There could be an opportunity for the young skater.
The Brett Howden deal costs a very cheap $885,000. Which doesn’t eat up too much of the team’s $23.7 million projected cap space. That is a lot of money that gives them flexibility as the summer continues. Do not be surprised if the team makes a big splash once their main free agents are addressed.