David Desharnais

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Andersson to get ‘every opportunity’ to make Rangers next season

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The New York Rangers partially addressed their center depth by signing David Desharnais to a one-year, $1 million deal.

But the Blueshirts may also have another new player who can play the middle next season.

He’s just a little young, that’s all.

“I have to say that I really liked what I saw from (Lias) Andersson at our development camp,” said head coach Alain Vigneault, per the New York Post. “He’s got great hands and he can play. He’s going to get every opportunity.”

Anderson, 18, was the seventh overall pick in last month’s draft. At the time, he wasn’t sure where he was headed next season.

“I have a contract back home with Frolunda, so we’ll see what’s happening, see what the Rangers want,” he said. “Obviously my goal is to play in the NHL. I know it’s tough, and if I don’t make it, maybe play in the American League or play back home in Sweden. I don’t know yet. We’ll figure something good out.”

Despite Vigneault’s remarks, it’s probably a long shot for Andersson to make the Rangers as a teenager. Development camp is one thing. The NHL is quite another — especially for a center.

But long term, the Blueshirts are looking pretty decent down the middle with Mika Zibanejad, Kevin Hayes, Andersson, and possibly J.T. Miller.

Of those four, the oldest is Hayes, and he just turned 25.

Related: Optimism replaces pessimism after changes to Rangers defense

Rangers announce hiring of Lindy Ruff as assistant coach

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The New York Islanders weren’t the only team in The Big Apple to make an assistant coaching hire on Monday.

The New York Rangers also officially announced the hiring of Lindy Ruff to serve as an assistant on Alain Vigneault’s staff.

It had been reported several weeks ago that Ruff was going to join the Rangers’ staff.

Ruff spent the past four seasons coaching the Dallas Stars, making the playoffs in two of those years. He is currently in the top-five for both games coached and wins in NHL history.

Given Ruff’s track record in the NHL having him behind the bench would seem to put a little pressure on Vigneault, whether that is the intention here or not.

Along with the addition behind the bench, the Rangers have undergone some significant changes this offseason on the ice, trading Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta, buying out Dan Girardi and signing Kevin Shattenkirk and David Desharnais in free agency.

Rangers re-sign Fast: three years, $5.5 million

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Following an impressive postseason performance, Jesper Fast has cashed in.

On Wednesday, the Rangers announced they signed Fast to a three-year, $5.5 million deal, one that carries a $1.85M average annual cap hit. The deal comes after the 25-year-old was one of New York’s top skaters in the playoffs, scoring six points in 12 games while playing just under 15 minutes per night.

This is a nice piece of business from Rangers GM Jeff Gorton, who locks in a steady lineup presence and contributor for less than $2 million per season.

Fast’s offense took a bit of a dip from ’15-16 to ’16-17 — his goals decreased from 10 to six, his points from 30 to 21 — though to be fair, last season was somewhat derailed by a separated shoulder.

Today’s signing also comes on the heels of Gorton adding depth to the center position, by inking veteran free agent David Desharnais.

Vegas locks up former Ranger Lindberg: two years, $3.4M

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The Vegas Golden Knights announced the signing of Oscar Lindberg to a two-year, $3.4 million contract on Tuesday.

Lindberg, 25, was Vegas’ expansion-draft selection from the New York Rangers, who addressed his departure (and arguably the trade of Derek Stepan) with a move of their own in landing David Desharnais.

Lindberg was still, to some extent, proving himself with the Rangers, who amassed the sort of depth that forced him to battle for minutes. He saw his average TOI drop from 12:11 in 2015-16 to just 10:50 per contest last season.

Even then, he’s shown glimpses of being an interesting piece, and Lindberg should get a golden opportunity to show what he can do with the Golden Knights.

Cap Friendly places their forward spending at $40 million after this signing, although the likes of David Clarkson and Mikhail Grabovski inflate those numbers quite a bit.

Rangers address center depth, sign Desharnais

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Timing, eh?

Just hours after we asked what the Rangers were going to do at the center position, GM Jeff Gorton went out and addressed the depth issue, signing veteran David Desharnais to a one-year, $1 million deal.

The news, first reported by the New York Post, gives the Rangers a fourth piece down the middle in addition to Mika Zibanejad, Kevin Hayes and J.T. Miller. Gorton has said the club is comfortable with Miller playing center, even though he’s spent considerable time on the wing.

This is a low-risk move for the Blueshirts. The 30-year-old is coming off a year split between Montreal and Edmonton, in which he scored six goals and 14 points over 49 games. He finished reasonably well with the Oilers, appearing in all 13 games while averaging just under 10 minutes a night.

In Round 1, he scored the OT winner in Edmonton’s 4-3 win over the Sharks in Game 5.

It remains to be seen if Gorton is done adding at the center position. It’s fair to think he’s not. The Rangers are still pretty thin and, over the weekend, he indicated he’s been in trade discussions with teams to try and upgrade.