Rangers sign Patrik Nemeth, Jarred Tinordi in defensive shakeup

The Rangers have bolstered their defense in their first NHL free agency moves.

As first reported by The Post’s Larry Brooks, defenseman Patrik Nemeth agreed to a three-year deal with the Blueshirts at a $2.5 million average annual value.

The team announced the move Wednesday as the free agent market opened.  

Nemeth, who was traded from the Red Wings to the Avalanche as a rental leading up to last season’s trade deadline, is a big-bodied lefty who is expected to fortify the Rangers’ third defensive pairing alongside fellow Swede Nils Lundkvist.

At 6-foot-3 and 228 pounds, Nemeth can protect the front of the net, block shots and play a reliable game in his own end.

On top of bringing experience to the back end, Nemeth is expected to be a prime penalty killer and help his fellow countryman Lundkvist get acclimated to North America. In 366 NHL games with the Stars, Avalanche and Red Wings, Nemeth has amassed eight goals and 50 assists.

Patrik Nemeth; Jarred Tinordi
Patrik Nemeth; Jarred Tinordi
Getty Images

The Blueshirts also signed 29-year-old defenseman Jarred Tinordi to a two-year, $900,000 contract on Wednesday, per multiple reports. Tinordi, a 6-foot-6 lefty, will likely step into a seventh-defenseman role behind Ryan Lindgren, K’Andre Miller and Nemeth. It was a necessary signing after general manager Chris Drury decided to move on from Brendan Smith earlier this offseason.

The additions of Nemeth and Tinordi push young defensemen Libor Hajek and Zac Jones on the outs. Jones, the skillful 20-year-old who won a national championship at UMass, will likely be designated to the AHL Wolf Pack next season barring a trade.

And despite receiving a qualifying offer on Monday, Hajek is now on the outside looking in on the left side spot of the third pair he held last season. Hajek, who along with Brett Howden was part of the return in the February 2018 trade that sent Ryan McDonagh and J.T Miller to Tampa Bay, wasn’t able to make the early impact the Rangers wanted him to.

In 77 games with the Rangers since 2018-19, Hajek has three goals and seven assists.

Also, Greg McKegg is coming back to Rangers on one-year, two-way deal for $750,000  and $350,000 guaranteed, per Sportnet.

McKegg, who appeared in 53 games for the Rangers in 2019-20, is coming off a one-year stint in Boston in which he spent most of his time on the taxi squad and only saw five games of NHL action.

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