Earlier this month, we wrote about how pending UFA d-man Brendan Smith impressed his Rangers teammates with his strong postseason play.
It was clear the Rangers wanted to keep Smith, a trade deadline pickup, in the fold. And now it sounds like the interest is mutual.
“He’s more than open to coming back,” agent Anton Thun told the New York Post. ““I’m sure I’ll be speaking to Jeff [Gorton, Rangers GM] in the next week or so and we’ll see if we can work something out.”
Smith, 28, just wrapped a two-year, $5.5 million deal with a $2.75M average annual cap hit. His stock certainly rose following the move from Detroit to New York, thanks in large part to a playoff in which he had four points through 12 games, and averaged just under 20 minutes per night.
Add it all up, and a raise is in the cards.
Helping Smith’s cause is a relatively weak crop of free-agent defensemen this summer. Kevin Shattenkirk will be the top dog, while the second tier includes under-30s like Smith, Karl Alzner and Michael Stone.
The Post estimated a $4M AAV could be on the horizon for Smith, which makes sense. Thun didn’t talk specific numbers, but did suggest the Rangers weren’t going to get any sort of discount.
“To pass up free agency,” he explained, “Brendan’s going to need a contract that reflects market value.”