The New York Rangers have added depth to the defensive corps by signing unrestricted free agent Patrik Nemeth to a three-year deal worth $7.5 million. His contract carries an annual average value of $2.5 million, a slight pay cut from the $3 million he made as a member of the Detroit Red Wings and Colorado Avalanche in 2020-21.
Nemeth was attached to the Rangers for several days as the team continues to bulk up, scouting and signing players who will make the team harder to play. Nemeth is a left-handed defenseman who will supplement a lineup that is heavy with right-handers on the blue line. He was a top choice for new general manager Chris Drury because of his size: 6-foot-3 and 228 pounds.
Nemeth was a second-round pick (41st overall) of the Dallas Stars in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. He stayed in his home country of Sweden for a few seasons, playing in the top tier of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL). In 2012-13, he came to North America, playing 84 games in the American Hockey League (AHL) before getting a call up to the Stars in 2013-14.
Related: 2021 NHL Free Agent Signing Tracker
After his first season, Nemeth bounced between the NHL and AHL before the Avalanche claimed him off waivers on October 3, 2017. His totals in Dallas included 14 points in 108 games. Given a chance to be an NHL regular with a new team during the 2017-18 season, Nemeth set a career-high with 15 points in 68 games while averaging 19:51 a game.
When his contract expired at the end of the 2018-19 season, Nemeth signed a deal with the Red Wings, who were in a rebuild. His offensive numbers took a hit, as did his plus/minus rating, although he averaged over 22 minutes a night in his first campaign with the team. Colorado came calling again in 2021, trading for their former defenceman before the deadline.
The Bright Lights of Broadway
Nemeth will join his fourth organization in eight seasons. He may have had other roles with his different teams, yet he will have a specific assignment in New York. His main goal will be to have a physical presence on the ice, whether it’s hitting or blocking shots.
It is no secret that the Rangers struggled against some teams who outmuscled them up and down the ice. The future in the Big Apple is bright with players, like Alexis Lafreniere, Adam Fox, and Kaapo Kakko. However, they need a support system to back them up, allowing them the time and space to showcase their skills.
Ryan Gagne is one of the newest members of The Hockey Writers, covering the New York Islanders. He grew up in a small town in northern New Hampshire, where he idolized the Boston Bruins. Before moving to Canada in 2008, he was the equipment manager for his high school varsity hockey team and a sports journalist for the local newspapers. Ryan has been active in the hockey community, whether coaching, officiating, instructing, or playing. He is the ultimate rink rat with 19 years of experience making ice and driving the Zamboni. An avid fantasy sports player, Ryan created a blog, Keeping the Stats, where he dissects his teams and brags about his 2020 fantasy football championship. Outside of hockey, his life revolves around the New York Yankees, much to his wife’s chagrin.