NHL Free Agency 2012, New York Rangers Preview

Free agency will help shape what players John Tortorella coaches during the 2012-2013 NHL season. James Guillory-US PRESSWIRE

The 2012 NHL Free Agency period begins on Sunday. Rangers fans already know the team will be heavily involved in the bidding for highly-regarded rookie defenseman Justin Schultz. The Rangers, of course, are also involved in trade talks for Columbus star Rick Nash. What else will be happening with the Blushirts during free agency? Let's take a look.

NHL.com reports that the Rangers have $21 million in cap space and summarizes the team's needs this way:

The Rangers need to add depth on the back end, especially considering they don't expect Michael Sauer (concussion) to be ready for the start of the season. Depth was sorely missing in the playoffs as Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh and Marc Staal each were forced to play more than 25 minutes per game.

Their defense could also take a hit if Michael Del Zotto and Tim Erixon have to get moved in a trade for Nash or Ryan. If Erixon stays, he should be given every opportunity to make the club

Here is the complete list of Rangers free agents [from TSN]:

Available UFAs: F Sean Avery, D Brendan Bell, D Stu Bickel, F Andre Deveaux, D Steve Eminger, F Ruslan Fedotenko, G Chad Johnson, F John Mitchell, F Kris Newbury, F Brandon Prust, D John Scott, D Mike Vernace, D Jeff Woywitka

Available RFAs: D Lee Baldwin, F Francois Bouchard, F Chris Chappell, D Michael Del Zotto, D Sam Klassen, D Anton Stralman, G Cameron Talbot, F Andreas Thuresson, D Pavel Valentenko, F Casey Wellman, F Mats Zuccarello

SB Nation's Blueshirt Banter will also have plenty about the Rangers offseason activities.

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