Let’s preface this title by saying that Michal Rozsival has been atrocious this year. He is eating up cap space, and this signing is really hurting the Rangers. Larry Brooks has called out the Rangers to get rid of Rozsival at any cost:
Rozsival is chewing up nearly $26,000 a day on his annual $5M cap hit. Deleting him by the end of the month via trade or demotion would clear an additional $3.4M of space that increases proportionately with the season.
Moving Rozsival this month would allow the Rangers to be in the market for pretty much anyone who becomes available. Including, perhaps, a player who will look out for his teammates.
Brooks’ numbers are right on. Each day Rozsival is on the roster, he eats up precious cap space. But, to be blunt, how exactly are the Rangers supposed to move Rozsival? Who in their right mind would trade for him? Even Mike Milbury wouldn’t trade for him at this point. So that option is out.
Waive him? Dump him in Hartford? Maybe. I mean, it seems easy, right? Just bury him in the minors, and free up all that cap space. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as you might think. There are a several risks involved with this maneuver.
First and foremost, remember that Bobby Sanguinetti and Ilkka Heikkinen did not impress in camp. If you waive Rozsival, and neither can handle the workload, then what? Recall Rozsival you say? Well, he has to pass through re-entry waivers. Teams may not want him at $5 million, but there’s a solid chance someone will scoop him up at half that. In this worst case scenario, you realize that neither Sanguinetti or Heikkinen can play in the NHL yet, you lose a defenseman who can at least fill a void, and you still have to pay $2.5 million for the life of the contract. Ouch.
There’s also the minor issue of pissing off the union, which will definitely happen if the Rangers waive Rozsival. It’s minor, but it could have a lasting effect if free agents don’t sign because of the fear of being waived if they don’t perform. Job security counts for something.
But hey, you have to bet big to win big, right? Maybe Sanguinetti received his wakeup call in September, and can contribute to the level that Michael Del Zotto has contributed so far this year. Personally, I don’t think Rozsival is going anywhere. MAYBE a buyout next year. Maybe.