Carcillo fills a role for New York, which lost Derek Dorsett to a broken left fibula for four to six weeks.
"We pick up a player that can bring an element of toughness," coach Alain Vigneault said Saturday afternoon before the Rangers game against the Maple Leafs. "It's an area that we felt that we needed to get a little bit better. Dan became available and we picked him up."
Carcillo appeared in 26 games this season for Los Angeles, getting a goal and an assist with 57 penalty minutes.
He's known for playing on the edge and has a history of suspensions, including three during the 2011-12 season.
Vigneault did not express concern over that.
"For us it's a low-risk move," Vigneault said. "He's in the last year of his contract, not very expensive, and hopefully he'll come in and help us."
Carcillo, who won a Stanley Cup last season with Chicago, has 89 points and 1,136 penalty minutes in his career.
According to Vigneault, the Rangers had some discussions about acquiring Carcillo before Dorsett's injury, which occurred when he tried to block a shot by Pittsburgh defenceman Olli Maatta. But the injury expedited the process.
"Not sure it would've happened this quickly," Vigneault said.
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