The future starts now for the Rangers. Every team need entry level contracted players to step up and provide cap relief and ideally play significant minutes – it’s a critical part of successful salary cap survival. With Derek Stepan about to get a serious pay rise (thanks Buffalo) the Rangers will need a younger player or two to step up sooner rather than later. With Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes, amongst others, due for significant raises next summer, the Rangers would dearly love a prospect or two to force their way onto the roster and/or into significant roles in the short to middle term.
The immediate options for the coming season are obviously Emerson Etem, JT Miller and Jesper Fast. All three are absent of arbitration rights this season, so remain cost controlled; two of them are established Rangers and all three of them have serious upside, albeit in different forms (with Fast’s ceiling likely to be a solid two-way third liner).
Update: The CBA specifically states that UFA contracts are not comparables for any arbitration hearing. Ryan O’Reilly was a UFA at the end of his old deal. Thus his new, $7.5 million-per-year contract is not a comparable for Derek Stepan’s arbitration hearing, and is inadmissible. Here is the article from the CBA.
Every season, I write a series of posts projecting the New York Rangers payroll for the following season. For the 2015-2016 season, I started after the trade deadline with the initial projections. The Rangers have seen a few roster moves since then, thus the projections for this season changed a bit.
The Rangers still have four key RFAs: Derek Stepan, Emerson Etem, J.T. Miller, and Jesper Fast. Stepan is the only player to command a significant salary, and has filed for arbitration. The cap ceiling is at $71.4 million for next season, so let’s break down who the Rangers have, and what to expect from the rest of the offseason:
In the most unsurprising move of the offseason thus far, Rangers center Derek Stepan has filed for arbitration. He was the only player –since Carl Hagelin was traded– that was eligible for arbitration on the Rangers. This is just a step in the process, and it is very rare that a player actually goes to arbitration. The only players I can remember getting to that point were Sean Avery and Nik Zherdev.
By filing for arbitration, Stepan will be unable to sign an offer sheet, so this actually protects the Rangers a bit. Players and teams can still negotiate right up until the arbitration hearing, and I expect Stepan to sign his deal before his hearing.
Again, this is part of the process, and is normal for arbitration eligible players.
The New York Rangers ought to be concerned and not necessarily because of Derek Stepan’s current contract situation but because of the looming contract issues that currently sit just over the horizon. The NHL annual free agency frenzy was surprisingly (and encouragingly) muted this summer but don’t let that fool you.
The leagues’ posse of general managers realised value for money wasn’t there, perhaps money and internal resources weren’t there to spend and as a result we saw a lot less head scratching moves made. However, some of the contracts that were dished out bordered on the ridiculous. And it starts with arguably the most exciting player to be moved this week in Brandon Saad who joined Columbus in a multi-player swap.
The New York Rangers have signed forward Luke Adam, adding to their AHL forward depth. Adam, a 2nd round pick in 2008, has previous stints with Buffalo and Columbus, spending most of his career in the AHL. His best season was 2011-2012, where he put up 10-10-20 in 52 games. In his 90 career games, he has a line of 15-11-26.
Adam will be AHL depth and injury depth. It is unlikely he sees significant time at the NHL level.
Happy 4th of July weekend, BSB community! Before we get started, just a quick housekeeping issue: we have our off-season plan contest finalists down to our final three. The finalists have submitted tremendously creative and interesting proposals. The plan is to start unveiling those next week for community voting, however, I didn’t want to bury them at the beginning of a holiday weekend, so you’re stuck with my thoughts.
Sorry for the delay on this one folks, I must have missed it. The Rangers have signed 2014 2nd round pick Brandon Halverson to his three-year entry-level deal. Details of the contract are unknown at the moment, but it is unlikely Halverson will turn pro until the 2016-2017 season. Halverson put up great numbers with the Soo Greyhounds in the OHL this year, posting an absurd 40-5-2 record, with a 2.63 GAA and a .913 SV%.
Halverson’s contract will slide this year, so his contract won’t count towards the 50 contract reserve list.
The answer about where Martin St. Louis will play next year has been answered. When the Rangers announced they will not be bringing the winger back, there were a few teams interested, but ultimately the 40 year old winger decided on retirement instead. St. Louis, a shoo-in Hall of Famer, was noticeably slower in the second half of the season and in the playoffs, as it appeared age caught up with him.
That said, MSL is, again, a HOFer, possibly on the first ballot. In an era where bigger was better, the 5’8″ winger redefined what it meant to be an NHL player, paving the way for smaller, skilled players like Mats Zuccarello and Tyler Johnson. In 1134 games, MSL put up a line of 391-642-1033 (22-38-60 in 93 games with the Rangers) in the regular season. In the playoffs, he had a line of 42-48-90 in 102 games (9-13-22 in 43 games with the Rangers), including a Stanley Cup with the 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning.
His best moment as a Ranger, by far, was this goal:
This goal gave the Rangers a 3-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Montreal Canadiens, a series the Rangers would win in six games.
For those accustomed to watching the Rangers leap head first into free agency and enjoy the fall out, they will have been disappointed as July 1st turned to the 2nd. For the rest of us, yesterday would have been a pleasant change. Ironically, as Glen Sather officially relinquished his GM duties to Jeff Gorton, yesterday also offered a change of approach by the Rangers, albeit a partially enforced one because of the aggressive moves made over the past two or three seasons.
Barring any significant changes over the next days and weeks (changes that could obviously yet happen) the Rangers core is in place for next season and the overall make-up of the roster is set. It’s better than it was a week ago. Losing Hagelin hurts, Talbot also. But the Rangers acquired solid depth in Viktor Stalberg, potential upside (and youth) in Emerson Etem and value for money in Antti Raanta.
Considering the unknowns, the main reason Rangers fans should be on tender hooks until the new season begins to play out is not because of the loading up in free agency by the Penguins or the aggressive moves by the Blue Jackets, nor the complete retooling undertaken by the Bruins. It’s because so much of the Rangers immediate future is the Rangers gambling on their own. Read More→
Well, the New York Rangers stayed quiet for the most part, making primarily depth signings to fill out the roster. Let’s break down each move the Rangers made yesterday.
Front office moves
For those that missed it, Glen Sather stepped down as General Manager, but will remain as team president. Jeff Gorton is now the GM, and Jim Schoenfeld has been promoted to Senior VP, Assistant GM, and GM of the Hartford Wolf Pack. This was a move that came as a surprise, but had been speculated for a while. Gorton had been running most of the day to day by this point, so I think the move is more of a formality. That said, it was the biggest move the Rangers made yesterday, which is a good thing.
Worth noting here: Pre-lockout Slats was pretty brutal, and we’ve all recognized that. But post-lockout Slats built this team from a laughing stock into a perennial contender. In ten post-lockout seasons, the Rangers went to the playoffs in nine seasons. They went to a pair of Eastern Conference Finals, and one Stanley Cup Final. He wasn’t perfect by any means, and there are some significant questions, but the end-result was the best era of New York Rangers hockey we’ve ever seen.
Viktor Stalberg – one year, $1.1 million