By STEPHEN WHYNO, AP Hockey Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — The New York Rangers have agreed to terms on a $17 million, four-year deal with Brendan Smith.
The defenseman will count $4.35 million against the salary cap in each season of the new contract.
General manager Jeff Gorton announced the deal Thursday. Smith was set to be an unrestricted free agent Saturday.
Smith, 28, would have been one of the top blue liners available in free agency after the Rangers acquired him as a rental at the trade deadline from the Detroit Red Wings. Smith had three goals and six assists for nine points in 51 games, averaging a career-high 19:14 of ice time.
In 309 games in parts of six seasons, Smith has 16 goals and 55 assists. A left-shooting defenseman who can play the right side, the Toronto native has strong puck-possession numbers and will be a top-four player for New York, perhaps playing with captain Ryan McDonagh.
Agent Anton Thun confirmed that there is some no-trade protection for Smith all four years.
Had Smith hit the open market, he likely would have earned the second-biggest contract behind Kevin Shattenkirk, who was traded at the deadline from St. Louis to Washington. Shattenkirk is from New Rochelle, New York, and has been linked to the Rangers, but Smith’s deal might change that equation.
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