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NHL Rumors: 3 free agents with Peter Laviolette ties Rangers can sign

Jan 10, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Capitals right wing Garnet Hathaway (21) passes the puck against the Boston Bruins during the third period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers have a new head coach in Peter Laviolette. Here are three free agents with links to the coach that the team can sign.

The New York Rangers were supposed to make a run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season, after making a run to the Eastern Conference Finals the year prior. The team added big-name players like Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrick Kane at the trade deadline in hopes of lifting the cup for the first time since 1994. But after blowing out the rival New Jersey Devils in the first two games of their first-round series, the Rangers essentially no-showed the next four games and were eliminated.

Head coach Gerard Gallant was the fall guy for the underperforming team. With that, the team began a month-long search. Instead of going for a splashy hire, they went with a “safe pick” in Peter Laviolette. While he does have a Stanley Cup title to his credit, that came back in 2006. He has been on five different teams and was fired by the Washington Capitals back in April.

It’s not the hire that is going to excite Rangers fans, especially as the team essentially waited to see if Mike Sullivan or Sheldon Keefe were available, but he was the most experienced option available. With the veteran players on the roster, general manager Chris Drury decided that Laviolette would be the best option.

As is the case in any sport, a new head coach will likely bring in their former players to help implement their system. Here are three free agents the Rangers can sign who have ties with Laviolette.

NHL Rumors: 3 free agents with Peter Laviolette ties Rangers can sign, No. 3: Garnet Hathaway, W

The Rangers brought in the likes of Kane and Tarasenko this season, both top wingers on the team upon their arrival. Now, both are free agents. Kane is recovering from hip surgery, while Tarasenko is one of the top free agents in the entire league. With a little over $11 million in cap space and needing to sign restricted free agents Alexis Lafreniere and defensive K’Andre Miller, the Rangers won’t be shopping at the top of the free agency list.

Given the need at wing, it would make sense for the team to bring in some cheaper options with links to Laviolette. Garnet Hathaway is one of them.

Hathaway was with the Capitals since before Laviolette arrived in 2020, and has nearly three years of knowledge in his system. That was until he was dealt to the Boston Bruins this past season. While Hathaway doesn’t put many points on the board, he knows how to get under the opposition’s skin, which would be a plus for the Rangers, who don’t have many fighters on the roster.

In his time with Laviolette, Hathaway scored 29 goals and dished out 29 assists in 191 games played.

Hathaway would be a solid get for the Rangers as a bottom-six winger.

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