In order to prevent him from becoming an unrestricted free agent, the New York Rangers paid up to keep center Ryan Spooner in town (Or at least on the mainland, as he didn’t go to the Islanders). Spooner was inked to a 2 year, $8 million deal according to multiple media sources. This may seem a bit expensive, but some teams value control over a bargain, and would rather avoid future headaches, that teams such as the Jets have been enduring. That headache is called arbitration, and it seems to be the bane of NHL teams’ existence as of late. New York acquired Spooner when they traded Rock Nash to the Bruins in a last ditch effort to get him a ring. Obviously, after giving up Nash for him, they have shown that they see some value in him. Now, they have put numbers to said value.
Spooner has been in the league since he was drafted 45th overall by the Bruins in 2010. He previously played in the OHL, and spent a little time there after being drafted as well. He never played an entire season in the AHL. He spent most of the 2011-12 season playing in the OHL (He was traded from the Kingston Frontenacs to the Starna Sting), before joining the Providence Bruins long enough to suit up for 5 games (And put up 4 points). Providence’s only major-league affiliated professional sports team (And one of only 2 in the state) then got to keep him for 59 games during the 2012-2013 season, where he dominated. He was responsible for 57 points in those 59 games. He was then called up to the Boston squad, where he was able to don a Bruin jersey during that extremely successful Boston season exactly 4 times. Spooner recorded 0 points for Boston that season, and he was not able to suit up during their Stanley Cup Playoff run that year.
After his disappointing NHL start, Spooner spent the better half of the 2013-14 season back in the AHL, where he continued to show promise. He put up 46 points in 49 games and was called back up to Boston. He spent 23 contests with them that year and definitely showed a learning curve, as he put up only 11 points, all of them assists. After another short AHL stint, he became a regular for Boston during the 2014-15 season. He put up a career-high 49 points during the 2015-16 season, and scored 39 the year after. During this past year, with his time split between Boston and New York, he put up 41 points on 13 goals and 28 assists.
Spooner has shown himself to be a pass-first, shoot-second type of player, the perfect type to pair up with a dynamic scorer. Spooner is frequently lined up with Kevin Hayes (Who was also recently re-signed) and Steven Fogarty. His high assist number indicates that these type of pairings work, so look for the Rangers to try to use him in some of the same ways during his tenure there. Barring a trade, it is looking like that tenure will be at least another two years.