The Rangers lack a dynamic scoring forward, that go-to guy that can put the puck in the net and dominate a game when they need it. It’s been a problem since Jagr left. They just don’t score. Larry Brooks’ solution: get that star player, specifically Gaborik:
Gaborik is one of the NHL’s great talents, having scored 219 goals in 502 games after joining Minnesota as the third-overall selection in the 2000 Entry Draft (after Rick DiPietro and Dany Heatley). But he also has been a chronic visitor to the injured reserve, having played 65 games or fewer in four of his last five seasons. As such, he presents a significant risk, even though he nearly carried the Wild into the playoffs after returning for the final 11 games of the season.
Would Gaborik help? If he’s healthy, no doubt about it. He’s a dynamic winger that has been stifled by the Jacques Lemaire system in Minnesota, so much so, that he turned down $80 million because he just didn’t want to play in that system.
Health issues aside, let’s analyze this from a pure salary cap (my specialty) point of view. Let’s even use a hypothetical Gaborik-takes-an-incentive-laden-contract scenario. Let’s say Gaborik takes a 1 year, $5 million deal plus incentives for 2009-2010. It’s a risk, but well worth it. Now, let’s say the Rangers put incentives in there based on games played, say, another $4 million for playing a full season. That additional $4 million doesn’t count against the 2009-2010 cap, but it does count against the 2010-2011 cap, another cap that is expected to go down, and an offseason where the Rangers will need to resign Marc Staal, and possibly Dan Girardi (who may become expendable soon, but more on that in a future post).
Personally, I don’t like the idea of having $4 million on the cap for a player that won’t even be on the team that following year, as the Rangers won’t be able to afford him when he requests a long-term, high salary deal. If the Rangers can dump a long term salary, whether it’s via trade or to Hartford (HIGHLY unlikely), then this would work. But in the current situation, it does not.
It’s not about spending money, it’s about spending money the right way on the right players. Gaborik, although extremely talented, is not the right player given the current salary cap situation of the Rangers.