3 Free Agent Destinations For Rangers' Erik Gustafsson

The New York Rangers made a solid addition to their third pairing at the start of the season by adding Erik Gustafsson. He has been underrated offensively throughout his career and stepped up in a big way when Adam Fox was out of the lineup this season.

The Rangers are still in the playoffs, but may move on from him after the season as he might be a little too expensive for them. His cap hit was just $825,000 for this season, but he had six goals and 31 points in 76 games also. He is a good third pairing defenseman to have who can contribute offense and also make an impact on the first or second power-play unit.

Minnesota Wild

The Minnesota Wild don't have a ton of money to spend for next season and they may very well choose to just sign a cheaper option on the back-end to help out on the third pairing. The Wild need more offense from their back-end and Gustafsson can provide a decent amount. He will also likely be able to be signed for just one year so that the team can have open spots for next summer when the money really frees up.

San Jose Sharks

The San Jose Sharks have next to no offense from their back-end this season. Erik Karlsson leaving really deteriorated the defense. The Sharks aren't expected to be good next season, but they will make some adds and changes to their roster. Not only was Mario Ferraro the only defenseman on the team to play over 20 minutes per night, he led the defense in scoring with 21 points. I already noted that Gustafsson had 31 this season from the third pair. He would have a little more of a role on San Jose and be able to help generate offense from the blueline.

Calgary Flames

The Calgary Flames are still working their defense out. The team traded three key defensemen this season and will possibly let Oliver Kylington hit free agency. There are a lot of young d-men that could come in, but if the team wants to compete for a playoff spot, they will need a little more experience. Gustafsson has that and will be able to make up for some of the offense lost. He won't be expected to play much more than he's used to either and will be a factor on the second power-play unit. In comparison to what the Flames have after Mackenzie Weegar and Rasmus Andersson, a defenseman like Gustafsson could be a big help on the left side.

Photo credit: © Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports