Rangers president and general manager Chris Drury doesn’t foresee any issue in getting pending free agent Barclay Goodrow signed to a new deal after the two-time Stanley Cup champion’s rights were acquired from the Lightning on Saturday.
“We’ve talked and we’re making progress. Nothing to report now, but I don’t anticipate any issues with getting him under contract,” Drury said on a conference call Monday with reporters.
One report stated that “significant progress” had been made between the sides on a potential six-year deal. The 28-year-old Goodrow has 65 games of playoff experience over seven NHL seasons, including the last two years of mostly bottom-six forward duty with two-time champion Tampa Bay.
“I think he’s pretty versatile. I can see him doing a lot of different things for [new coach] Gerard [Gallant],” Drury said. “We think he’s got a pretty complete game and he’s gonna be able to help in a lot of different areas.
“He’s a guy that we targeted and obviously went out and made a deal with Tampa to get him early, to get a jump on it. He just checks off a lot of boxes.”
Drury added that Goodrow, who can play either wing or center, plays with “a little more straight-line approach” and “obviously the bigger the game, the better he seems to play.”
“He’s a winner. He’s able to walk into our locker room and talk about what it’s like to play in the playoffs and to win Cups,” Drury said. “That’s a unique thing and obviously a very special thing. So we’re excited to be able to trade for him and gonna work towards trying to sign him.”
Goodrow, as a potential unrestricted free agent on July 28, wasn’t protected by the Rangers for Wednesday’s expansion draft by the new Seattle Kraken franchise. Their seventh forward spot went to fourth-line center Kevin Rooney, over other possibilities such as Colin Blackwell and Julien Gauthier.
“As one GM mentioned to me, it’s just the cost of being in expansion,” Drury said. “Everyone is going to lose a player and there’s no easy decisions. Whether it was a player we ended up protecting or exposing, they’re tough decisions to make. I just tried to make the best decision I could, and it’s just kind of where it ended up.”
Drury, who replaced both fired president John Davidson and GM Jeff Gorton in May, reiterated that the goal for next season is for the Rangers to make the playoffs. The Blueshirts were swept in the best-of-five qualifying round by Carolina in the 2020 Toronto bubble, but they otherwise haven’t reached the postseason since 2017.
“Like we talked about, I believe at the first press conference and then when we hired Gerard, whether it’s aggressive or not aggressive, we’re always just trying to look for different ways to make the team as good as we can be and keep moving the ball forward to our goal of being a playoff team this year,” Drury said.
Asked if that means the team’s first-round draft pick (No. 15 overall) could be “in play” ahead of Friday’s NHL entry draft, Drury replied, “Again, we’re trying to look at all different ways to make the team better. And that’s a piece we have, and if we can make the team better with moving that pick or another pick, or players, we’ll look at everything.”
On center Brett Howden, who was dealt Saturday to Las Vegas ahead of the league’s roster freeze, Drury said, “He’s obviously not on our team anymore, and I’m not going to get into specifics … but he’s a terrific kid. I think he was a good Ranger and I think a fresh start will be good for him.”
Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba tweeted that he is “proud to support” Predators prospect Luke Prokop, who announced Monday that he is gay. Trouba called it a “big day for the hockey community showing that #HockeyIsForEveryone.”
The Rangers’ official Twitter account also posted support, writing: “The New York Rangers are proud of @lukeprokop_6 and admire his remarkable courage. We fully support him and the LGBTQ+ community. #HockeyIsForEveryone.”