The New York Rangers continued the theme of dishing out low-AAV deals to NHL veterans on the first day of NHL free agency, as they announced the signing of forward Riley Nash to a two-year contract with an AAV of $775,000. Nash has not played an NHL game since the 2021-2022 campaign, where he played games for the Winnipeg Jets, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Arizona Coyotes, but was an important piece of the AHL Charlotte Checkers’ 2022-2023 season. Nash skated in 66 regular season contests for the Checkers, where he registered a 24-35-59 stat line.
One of the strengths of Riley Nash’s game is his ability to kill penalties. For years in Columbus, Riley Nash was a fixture on the penalty kill, in part due to his ability to play an effective 200-foot game. What Nash lacks in offensive productivity at the NHL level, he more than makes up for in his defensively responsible play.
It is believed that the first year of Nash’s deal in New York will be a one-way deal, converting to a two-way deal for the 2024-2025 season. Nash will more than likely be a fringe-NHL player for the duration of the deal. Nash has found success as a bottom-six forward in the NHL, but the addition of players like Blake Wheeler may make it difficult for him to crack the NHL lineup. Perhaps Nash’s most valuable asset to the Rangers will come in the form of veteran leadership in AHL Hartford. As of Saturday, Nash became only the third projected Hartford skater over the age of 24.