Brooks: Go Get Gaborik

June 8, 2009, by

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.

Categories : Analysis


  1. Zen says:

    I have absolutely zero doubt that Sather goes hard at Gaborik if he can unload Gomez. It is such a rare situation that a player of that caliber reaches free agency, that he won’t be able to resist. And I think it is pretty obvious that a 1-year incentive laden deal is just ridiculous. The franchises with HUGE cap room (i.e. Kings) are going to throw the kitchen sink at Gaborik, no matter how injury-prone the guy is. Sather will have to meet that asking price and I believe he will… so it will be up to Gaborik on whether he wants to play for the Rangers. But once again, this all is based on whether Sather can unload Gomez (or Drury).

    • Dave says:

      That’s a really big IF though. I mean, no one wants those contracts. Fact here is that Sather didn’t have a plan while signing these guys. He just saw a hole and attempted to fix it with who was available at that moment, and not who would be available.