The New York Rangers have had a busy offseason thus far. They have said goodbye to fan favorites Dan Girardi and Derek Stepan. Two others that they have lost include reliable backup net-minder Antti Raanta and third-line center Oscar Lindberg.

To think, Free Agency hasn't even begun. That happy day will take place on Saturday, July 1st. Until that crazy day arrives there will still be plenty going on.

The cap situation

With the subtractions from the Rangers' roster and the $2 million raise in the salary cap, the Blueshirts currently have roughly $20 million in cap space -- an unusually high amount for a perennial playoff team.

Let's not forget, Defenseman Kevin Klein has been rumored to be retiring so he can go play in Europe, and that will give the Rangers a total of approximately $23 million in cap space.

The signing

So, what does Rangers' GM Jeff Gorton do with his newfound wealth? The New York Daily News reports that he has come to terms with Brendan Smith on a 4-yr/$17.4 million contract. The 28-year-old defenseman came over to the Rangers in a mid-season trade from Detroit, where he had spent the first five-and-a-half years of his career.

With an average annual value of $4.35 million, Smith's new contract with the Blueshirts leaves Gorton with roughly $15.6 million in cap space. In 18 regular season games for New York, Smith did not impress, but that changed come playoff time.

In 12 postseason contests, Smith played with a gritty edge that provided the Rangers with a missing element of their game, a crucial one in the playoffs.

After the 7th Avenue Skaters were eliminated by the Senators in Game 6 of the Second Round, Smith stated that "he was enjoying his time with the Rangers and could see himself returning," according to Tasch.

"I like the guys, I think the team is really good, and we're only gonna get better with all the young players," Smith declared during his exit interview.

Overall, Smith is a tough as nails second-pair defenseman who in his short time in New York developed a strong chemistry with rookie Brady Skjei, and will presumably continue to play with Skjei this upcoming season.

Kevin Shattenkirk is still reportedly willing to give the Rangers a discount, and that Gorton and Co. are looking at Antti Niemi for their backup net-minder vacancy. Also, intriguing rumors are floating around about the possibility of the Blueshirts signing Joe Thornton and/or Patrick Marleau.

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