Bobby Holik, Wade Redden, Scott Gomez, Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards, Kevin Shattenkirk.

Again, the Rangers steal the headlines on July 1’s free agent frenzy inking top-fish UFA, Artemi Panarin. The deal is reportedly the max-term for a free agent–seven years at $81.5 million annually–an $11.6 million cap hit.

Panarin, who had long been rumored to have his eyes on the Big Apple, had in recent days seemed less inclined to sign with the Blueshirts, the Panthers and cross-city, Islanders emerging as the favorites until Monday morning when a late push by the Rangers seemed to turn the odds in their favor.

Columbus, where he played his last two seasons, also made a significant run prior to midnight with the scoring winger. As the team owning his rights, they were the only club that could offer an eighth season. It’s believed their offer was around $12 million annually. Unwilling to stick around there, he took a year less and less money for Broadway and the chance to play on the big stage.

Make no mistake, Panarin, who tallied 28 goals and 87 points in 79 games this season, is a big-stage player. He’s taken the league by storm since signing out of the KHL in 2015. He won the Calder Trophy as top rookie in 2015-16, scoring 77 points in 80 games. In his brief, four-year NHL career, he’s tallied 320 points in 322 games.

The Rangers will have roughly $8.8 million in cap space with four key RFAs to sign in forwards, Brendan Lemieux and Pavel Buchenvic as well as defensemen, Anthony DeAngelo and Jacob Trouba, the latter of which was a key acquisition earlier this offseason from the Winnipeg Jets.

Prior to signing Panarin, the Rangers sent Jimmy Vesey and his $2.275 million this season–RFA at season’s end–to the Sabres for a 2021 third round pick.

About The Author

Mad about being born into a Mets household during the Yankees dynasty, Neal McHale turned to something different after the 2000 World Series. He got NHL 2001 as a gift and it helped pioneer a hockey love affair. His first sportswriting gig was covering the historically-gritty Big East Conference. Since 2015, he's been with Inside Hockey covering the NHL.

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