Rangers sign forwards Nathan Gerge and Michael Grabner

NEW YORK (AP) The New York Rangers have signed free agent forwards Michael Grabner and Nathan Gerbe and defensemen Adam Clendening and Michael Paliotta.

General manager Jeff Gorton announced the signings Friday as the Rangers used the opening day of free agency to improve their team speed and penalty killing and to add a little depth on defense.

Grabner got a two-year contract worth $1.6 million annually while Gerbe got a one-year deal for $600,000. Clendening got a one-year, two-way contract that will pay him either $600,000 if he plays in the NHL or $300,000 in the AHL.

Contract terms for Paliotta, who played last season in the AHL, were not available.

Grabner played in a career-high 80 games with Toronto this past season, registering nine goals and nine assists. He ranked second among NHL forwards in short-handed ice time with 248 minutes, 29 seconds.

The 28-year-old Austrian has skated in 397 career NHL games over parts of seven seasons with Vancouver, the Islanders and Toronto, registering 104 goals and 69 assists for 173 points. He is tied for fourth in the NHL in short-handed goals since the start of the 2010-11 with 12. Grabner has recorded at least 20 goals in a season twice in his career.

Gerbe had three goals and four assists in 47 games with Carolina this past season. He has skated in 394 career NHL games over parts of eight seasons with Buffalo and Carolina, registering 58 goals and 80 assists. Gerbe has been on the ice for only 20 power play goals while logging 247:03 of short-handed ice time throughout his career.

The Rangers finished 26th in the NHL on the penalty kill with a 78.2 percent rating.

Clendening skated in 29 NHL games with Pittsburgh and Edmonton this past season with one goal and six assists. The 23-year-old has skated in 50 career NHL games over parts of two seasons (2014-15 and 2015-16) with Chicago, Vancouver, Pittsburgh, and Edmonton, registering two goals and nine assists.

Paliotta, 23, skated in 68 games with the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League this past season, getting eight goals and 15 assists. He was drafted in the third round in 2011 and has played in two NHL games.

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