The New York Rangers have waived defenseman Brendan Smith on Thursday, a day after losing 6-1 to the Boston Bruins to drop their 10th game in 13 tries.
Smith was in the first year of a four-year, $17.4 million deal that he signed over the summer. He was traded to the Rangers from the Detroit Red Wings with an expiring contract toward the end of last season in an attempt to bolster the blue line ahead of the playoffs.
While New York made it to the Eastern Conference semifinals last year, they are in danger of missing the postseason for the first time since 2009-10 as they are in last place in the Metropolitan Division.
The Rangers defense has been one of its glaring problems as they’ve provided little support for aging goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. They have allowed 168 goals this season, fourth most in the Eastern Conference.
Smith has not been exempt from the struggles as he’s been trudging through one of the worst seasons of his career, though the numbers don’t necessarily suggest it.
As a stay-at-home defenseman, Smith’s one goal and seven assists this season were generally par for the course. However, his 46 giveaways in 44 games put him on an alarming pace to shatter his career worst of 49 giveaways in 71 games with the Red Wings in 2013-14.
He has 24 hours to be claimed or else he’ll be sent to the Rangers’ AHL affiliate in Hartford.