When the Islanders re-signed Matt Moulson to a three-year deal worth $3.13 million per season, they actually helped out the Rangers in the coming offseason. The Rangers have several key players entering June as RFAs, including Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, and Brian Boyle*. Each one of them are due significant raises. The market value had previously been set by the deals signed by Claude Giroux (3 years, $3.75 million) and David Backes (5 years, $4.5 million), which gave the Rangers a little less negotiating power. However, the deal signed by Moulson, who has a 30-goal season under his belt, gives the Rangers some breathing room.
*-I omitted Artem Anisimov from this because he is still on his entry level deal.
There are differences between the Rangers RFAs and Moulson of course. Moulson was a ninth-round pick, who only recently found his stride in the NHL. Moulson also only has two years of consistent NHL playing time under his belt. He has produced a 30-goal year, and is on pace to do so again this year. None of Dubinsky, Callahan, or Boyle have put up a 30 goal season. The argument can be made that Dubinsky was on pace for one, but the fact is he has not, and probably will not this season because of his injury. Boyle is really the only one in the trio who has a shot of hitting 30 this year. Moulson was also going to be a UFA, unlike the Rangers trio, which will be RFAs.
Difference aside, the Rangers trio and Moulson have a lot in common in regards to importance to their respective teams. All four have become integral parts to their teams. They play in all scenarios, and are relied upon to play big minutes against the opposition’s top players. They are good locker room guys, and have become fan favorites (don’t discount this, both organizations have had trust issues with the fans). The production this year is also relatively on par for each of the four players. Moulson and Boyle have a few more goals, but Dubinksy and Callahan have more assists.
Perhaps the biggest benefit to the Rangers is that Moulson was going to be a UFA, not a RFA. As a UFA, Moulson had a lot of negotiating power, especially given his production. By signing for a little over $3 million, he effectively lowers the market value for players like Dubinsky, Callahan, and to a lesser extent, Boyle. Dubinsky and Callahan were/are going to be getting contracts that would be comparable to both the Giroux and Backes deals, depending on length and how many UFA years are bought out. Boyle is a bit of a wild card, but if he cracks 30 goals, he will get well over the 400% increase in salary that Giroux received.
The ultimate determining factor is going to be what each player (and their respective agents) wants from the Rangers. The Rangers were able to strike a deal with Callahan relatively quickly two years ago, but it took them significantly longer to agree to terms with Dubinsky. If the rumors are true, then Dubinsky was asking for $4 million per year without ever producing numbers worth a contract that high. Now that he has, are those numbers going to be drastically inflated? Market value, from a stock perspective, is defined as the price at which an asset would trade in a competitive auction setting. The Rangers assets have seen their market value rise with the Giroux and Backes deals, and fall with the Moulson deal.
It’s tough to predict what each contract is going to be, as the dollar amount will vary with the length of the deal. So that I don’t leave you hanging without at least a guess, I would put Dubinsky and Callahan at roughly $3.5 million per season, and Boyle at around $2.5 million per season, give or take $500,000. That represents a 100% raise for Dubinsky, a 50% raise for Callahan, and a 500% raise for Boyle. Those are fair numbers that reflect market value.