GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- After being traded from the San Jose Sharks to the New York Rangers on April 2, Ryane Clowe played 14 games, including two in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, limited due to injury.
In the wake of the Rangers' elimination by the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the forward said he would entertain the idea of playing more games for New York next season and beyond.
"I loved it here," Clowe said Monday when the Rangers met the media for the final time this season. "I loved the guys. It's a first-class organization and it was just special putting on a Rangers jersey. I really felt that way and I'd love to come back."
Left Wing - NYR
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 1 | PTS: 1
SOG: 0 | +/-: -1
Clowe can become an unrestricted free agent July 5. He'll be 31 years old when next season starts and he's coming off a four-year, $14.5 million contract he signed with the San Jose Sharks
. The Rangers also have to worry about re-signing restricted free agents Ryan McDonagh
, Derek Stepan
, Carl Hagelin
and Mats Zuccarello
, with the NHL salary cap dropping to $64.3 million for the 2013-14 season.
"I'm open to negotiate to find a way to stay here, there's no question about that," Clowe said. "Everyone wants to win in New York."
But the question for Clowe entering this summer, other than if the Rangers can afford him, is his health and how that will affect him in contract negotiations.
Clowe missed the last game of the regular season and the first three games of the playoffs with what is believed to be a concussion. He returned for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Washington Capitals, but played three shifts in Game 5 before a hit into the boards from forward Jason Chimera effectively ended Clowe's run in the playoffs.
Clowe would not specify the nature of his injury when asked specifically about it Monday and said he didn't come back too soon from his first injury. But he added that he feels better now, and had the series against the Bruins gone further he may have been able to return.
"Obviously you guys [the media] know I got hit from behind right away," Clowe said. "I took a pretty hard hit and not in a position I usually put myself in. It just happened quick. It was from that hit."
Rangers coach John Tortorella said Clowe was missed, especially against the Bruins.
"He's the type of player you need in the playoffs," Tortorella said. "He's experienced. He's a big body. He's good on the boards. He can score goals. There is no question that he would have made a difference in that series. I'm not sure if we'd beat them if Marc [Staal] and [Clowe] are in there, I'm not going to say that, but he would have helped because that's the type of player you're looking for as you go through the grind of a regular season and you get into the playoffs. You look at his record, he's a good playoff performer."
Clowe said the most important thing for him to do now is rest and make sure he is fully recovered because he knows that if he does hit the open market, any team that wants to sign him will want to make sure he is healthy.
"Obviously when you finish a year not playing people are going to ask some questions, and that's why you've just got to take the next couple of weeks to feel better and get a clean bill of health from the doctor," Clowe said. "That's all you can do."
Provided he gets healthy, Clowe said he doesn't think his injuries this season will hurt him this summer. He cited his resume, which includes 46 points in 70 career playoff games.
"It's unfortunate I didn't get to play, but I think my body of work over the last few years -- I didn't have a good start to this year and New York still wanted me," Clowe said. "I came here and found my game again."