Last year: 32-36-14, seventh in the Metro Division. Missed the playoffs by 20 points.
Key additions: Ray Shero, John Hynes, Pavel Zacha, John Moore, Kyle Palmieri
Key subtractions: Lou Lamoriello, Bryce Salvador, Michael Ryder, Scott Gomez, Steve Bernier, Mark Fraser, Martin Havlat
Offense: The Devils may have finally landed a true blue chipper to build around with the drafting of Zacha, but their group of forwards is still at the bottom of the league. New Jersey chose to let several of its over the hill veterans depart as free agents in a clear attempt to discover what the team has in youngsters like Stefan Matteau, Jacob Josefson and Reid Boucher, but it is abundantly clear that New Jersey needs a total overhaul up front. Still, Zacha and Palmieri may be keepers, and along with Adam Henrique they are the early pieces of a long-term offensive rebuild. Read More→
Derek Stepan signed yesterday, as new GM Jeff Gorton fit the final piece of the offseason puzzle into place. Stepan’s deal came in at six years, $39 million ($6.5 million cap hit). The deal has a full no trade for the first four years, and then a limited no trade for the final two (I believe). Stepan has a no-move clause throughout, meaning he can’t be sent to the AHL.
- This is a solid deal for both sides. There is no doubt that Stepan left money on the table, probably about $300k per year, or $1.8 million total. That’s no small amount. The deal fits under the cap for this year and in the future, and locks up their 1C through age 31. As for Stepan, he ensures he gets at least one more big payday when this contract expires.
- A few folks have issues with the length of the deal, but I don’t quite understand that. If Stepan were 30, then I would understand. But the kid is 25, and this deal locks up his prime years. The decline starts in the mid-30s, not the mid-20s.
The New York Rangers have agreed to terms with RFA center Derek Stepan on a multi-year contract. Per Larry Brooks, it is a six year deal worth $6.5 million per year. This makes Stepan the second highest paid skater on the Rangers (Rick Nash) at just 25 years old. The deal expires when Stepan is 31, so the Rangers are locking up Stepan’s prime years at a relative bargain price. The deal has a no-trade clause for the early years and a no-move clause for the last years.
Stepan put up a career high pace last year, with a line of 16-39-55 in 68 games. Stepan missed the first 14 games of the season with a broken fibula, the first injury of his career that forced him to miss regular season time. When you average that out to 82 games, he was on pace for 19 goals and 66 points.
Just a quick update on the Derek Stepan arbitration process: The Rangers have elected a one-year arbitration award for Stepan. If this goes to arbitration, Stepan will get a one-year deal, meaning he will be an RFA next year as well. This isn’t all that surprising, as it ensures the Rangers get one more crack at a long term deal.
Again, this likely isn’t getting to arbitration. I’m expecting both sides to come to terms this afternoon. The Rangers submitted a $5.2 million offer, while Stepan submitted $7.25 million. Since the numbers are pretty close in arbitration, it’s a fair assumption that both sides are close.
Derek Stepan’s arbitration date is tomorrow, and he will be the talk of Rangerland until the day he signs. So here are some things to expect to hear over the next two days.
1. Everyone will flip out over Stepan’s asking price.
Stepan is asking for $7.25 million in arbitration. Insert rage here.
In reality, Stepan’s asking price is actually reasonable. He’s worth more than that on the open market, but for some reason people have an aversion to signing homegrown players to large contracts. The kid is 25 years old and was on a 66 point pace over a full 82 games. He did this while dragging around a 41-year-old and clearly lost it Martin St. Louis on his line.
2. No one will have an issue with the Rangers’ price.
Just one question this week, but it’s an important one. As always, you can submit questions for the mailbag by using the form on the right.
Tyler asks: Do you think Kreider’s next contract will be close to Gustav Nyquist deal? I’d say those two are pretty close comparables.
That’s a difficult question to answer at the moment, since this season will play a large role in the contract Chris Kreider receives. This year, Kreider has a cap hit of $2.475 million, but is getting $2.6 million in salary. That means his qualifying offer will be $2.6 million. Nyquist’s new deal is four years at a $4.75 million cap hit.
Nyquist will turn 26 when the season starts, so his new contract buys two RFA years and two UFA years. Kreider will turn 25 in April 2016, so his new contract will also buy two RFA years, with any remaining term buying UFA years. Remember that unrestricted free agency is determined by the age of the player in June of the offseason, so Nyquist’s late birthday actually hurts him here.
Happy Friday, BSB faithful. I hope your summer is treating you well. Personally, I’m happy that summer is the busiest time for me at work, because those dog days between the start of free agency and the beginning of training camp are just brutal from a sports perspective. All the interesting moves have mostly been completed and we count down the days until hockey returns. One cannot live on baseball alone. Here are some thoughts as we slog through the summer…. Read More→
While several Rangers prospects have received much greater attention over the past season or so, Steven Fogarty has flown a little under the radar despite making solid progress at Notre Dame. One of the main reasons Fogarty went the college (and Notre Dame) route was to concentrate on his play away from the puck and Fogarty looks like a player that can play all three zones. He’s become a strong defensive player.
Fogarty is a big boy at 6’3 and 200+ lbs and the Rangers have been able to leave him to develop at his own pace which means four full years at the college level. Fogarty will play one more year of college but the big two-way center has intriguing potential at the pro level and has appeared to make good progress throughout his college career. Fogarty wears the ‘C’ in Notre Dame and the level of responsibility bestowed on Fogarty will stand him in good stead as he approaches professional hockey.
In news that pretty much surprised everyone, Lou Lamoriello has resigned as President of the New Jersey Devils, and has joined the Toronto Maple Leafs as their General Manager. Lamoriello stepped down as Devils GM this summer, paving the way for Ray Shero to take over that role. Toronto had been without a GM all summer, with Kyle Dubas and Mark Hunter performing most of the work.
My guess is that Lamoriello will be serving as a mentor for Dubas and Hunter until they are ready to take over the role full time. They’ve both done a great job with free agency and the draft, so I doubt Lamoriello messes with that.
Last year: 43-27-12, fourth in the Metro Division. Fell to the Rangers in five games in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
Key additions: Phil Kessel, Sergei Plotnikov, Tyler Biggs, Tim Erixon, Steve Oleksy
Key subtractions: Kasperi Kapanen, Paul Martin, Christian Ehrhoff, Steve Downie, Blake Comeau, Thomas Greiss, Nick Spaling, Daniel Winnik, Craig Adams, Maxim Lapierre, Scott Harrington
Offense: The Penguins finally decided that inserting random wingers alongside Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin might not be the best recipe for success and flipped their salary allocation from the blueline to the flanks. In doing so, they brought in five-time 30-goal scorer Phil Kessel, who could challenge for the Rocket Richard Trophy next season. They also acquired the talented Russian Plotnikov, who figures to get an early chance alongside Malkin. Though this might sometimes be the perception of the Penguins’ forward group, it will be far from the case in 2015-2016. A top-nine including Crosby, Malkin, Kessel, Plotnikov, Patric Hornqvist, Pascal Dupuis, Chris Kunitz, David Perron and Brandon Sutter will be very difficult to match. Read More→