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What It Should Cost To Lock Up Sauer

Continuing with the trend of discussing pending free agents, Mike Sauer’s one-year, $500,000 contract has expired, his second with the Rangers, and is headed towards restricted free agency this summer.  Sauer played on a one-year, two-way contract last season, spending the entire year in the NHL after three years in the AHL on his entry-level deal.  Despite having just one season under his belt, Sauer quickly climbed his way up the Rangers depth chart, moving from training camp question mark to integral member of the blue line in just 82 games.  While his play this season earned him a great deal more money, his lack of experience is going to prevent him from getting a true payday.

What is certain is that the Rangers will give Sauer a qualifying offer.  As Sauer made less than $660,000 last season, a qualifying offer means he is due a 10% raise to be qualified.  This means that Sauer’s qualifying offer will be for $550,000, a no-brainer for the Rangers.  Determining what he will get in terms of realistic offers –$550k is too low– is a bit tougher to judge.

Defensive defensemen like Sauer are very difficult to judge, as their worth is not met in points, but in the ability to shut down the opposition.  Thus, we have to revert to GVT and DGVT to really gain a measure on what Sauer’s comparable contracts are.  Sauer’s GVT for this season was 3.7, relatively modest, but solid for a rookie.  His DGVT was slightly better at 3.9, which makes him an effective defensive defenseman, as we’ve seen.  He almost directly compares to Mike Weber of Buffalo, who is also entering restricted free agency after his second contract.  Weber made $550,000 last season.

With overall GVT a tough barometer to measure, I switched to DGVT, which is a more accurate way to really assess Sauer’s worth.  An interesting player came to my attention, and that was Kevin Klein of Nashville.  He ahs a 3.5 GVT, and a 3.7 DGVT, so his GVT numbers are right there with Sauer.  Then, looking at his raw stats, I saw that Sauer’s are again slightly better, as Sauer produced more offense in his rookie year than Klein did in his first two seasons.  Sauer’s +/- (+20) was also way higher than Klein’s (-2) in their rookie years.

Taking the comparison further, you look at Klein’s second year, his contract year, which he finished with a line of 1-10-11, a -13 rating, 27 PIMs, 101 hits and 147 blocked shots.  Sauer finished this season, the same contract year, with a line of 2-13-15, a +20 rating, 75 PIMs, 78 hits, and 96 blocked shots.  Klein also averages 17 minutes per game, less than Sauer’s 20 minutes per game.  After that contract year, Klein worked that into a three-year deal worth $1.35 million per year.  The timing and statistical comparisons are almost identical, with Sauer’s overall numbers beating out Klein’s by a slight margin.

Noting Klein’s contract, it’s tough to really say that Sauer will be getting anything less than $1 million, and will likely be in the $1.25 million.  It’s almost assured that Sauer’s agent knows about Klein’s contract, and is using that as a starting point in the negotiations.  Considering how much Sauer plays, getting him for $1.25 million is a bargain, and Sauer will take his 150% increase in salary all the way to the bank.  If I had to guess, I would guess that Sauer gets a two or three year deal, worth anywhere between $1.1 million and $1.4 million.  The number varies, as Sauer is 26 and unrestricted free agency awaits for him next season as the more arbitration-eligible years the Rangers buy out, the more the average annual salary will be.  The more UFA years the Rangers buy out, the more the average annual salary will be.  Sauer won’t be expensive, and his contract is going to be a huge bargain for the Rangers, but it will be a little bit more than most initially planned.

27 Responses to “What It Should Cost To Lock Up Sauer”

  1. Matt J says:

    Sauer is a team guy. If he got 1.2 to 1.4 I think he would be thrilled. Don’t screw this up Slats as we need Richards. It kind of sucks that when a player we need the most comes out on open market, we have to re-sign all our RFA’s.

  2. jerry says:

    i figured him getting 1.5 mill.and hed be well worth it.

  3. Section 121 says:

    Sauer’s 23, not 26, so get him for 3 yrs at 1.3 per and he’ll still be a RFA when he comes up again.

    Stay away from Richards. Stepan, AA, Boyle have the potential to get it done.

    If you don’t like WoWo, then get Laich, Leino, or Gagne for two yrs until Grachev and Kreider arrive.

    • Dave says:

      Wow, I can’t add at all.

    • Dave says:

      Grachev is far from a given. His 2011-2012 season will determine his fate.

    • davidefrem says:

      Stick with the kids.Be willing 2 take losses now 2 be better later 4 a run at the cup a real run.One year we may end up with the top pick and a Crosby,Kane or a Malkin #2 pick. Stop bringing in old/done FA 2 just make the playoffs 2 continue drafting in the middle of the draft 2 be a middle of the road team with no highly skilled players. The last few champs bulid thru the draft.

  4. Section 121 says:

    Oh yeah, and get Wisniewski for 4.5 per for 4 yrs and here’s your lineup

    Gagne Stepan Gabby
    Dubi AA Cally
    MZA Boyle Prust
    Avery Drury Weise

    Staal Wisniewski
    McDonagh Girardi
    MDZ Sauer

    Wisniewski on the point for the PP #1, MDZ for PP #2

    If Gagne is not healthy, insert Laich or Leino.

    • Dave says:

      Avoid long-term D contracts like that. Don’t need them with all the prospects. Short-term contracts for a veteran presence or a hole-filler.

      • davidefrem says:

        I agreed Dave

      • Section 121 says:

        So we shouldn’t have locked up Girardi and Staal for 4 and 5 yrs?

        Locking up Wisniewski at age 26/27 for four years less than 4.5M per is not going to handcuff us. It’s not like we’re talking about a 6.5M contract for a 31 yr old.

        • Dave says:

          Why lock up Wisniewski with all that talent in the system? MDZ is supposed to be that guy, you have to give him his shot.

          • Matt J says:

            I also sense Valentenko getting a shot sooner or later. The kid does have the hardest shot in the AHL you know. I also don’t see what Wisniewski can bring to the table that our prospects will eventually have. Also Gagne is doing horrifically for his standards in Tampa. He has really gone down hill and he’s playing with St. Louis, Lecavs, and Stamkos.

            • Dave says:

              Tenk can’t really skate, he’s not the “sure thing” that everyone thinks he is.

  5. The Suit says:

    I would avoid Gagne like the bubonic plague. He’s one of the most injury prone “stars” in the league and his skills are one dimensional.

    Sauer should probably come in around a mill and he’ll be well worth it. Another measuring stick for Sauer would be one of the Coyotes’ players, Sami Lepisto, who got locked in for one year at $800k.

  6. Fotiu is God says:

    The counter-narrative should be What Cost to Keep Dave?

    Dude, stick tap to you; spot-on comparison. You should ask for a riase this offseason.

    The Preds’ Klein, though, looks slightly rattled at times in their series with The Nucks. Hard to discern whether he’s the cagey shutdown guy and Jonathan Blum (Cali kid like this poster) the kid just off the farm.

    But yeah, Sauer’s a rock. Lock him up–economically, let’s hope–for a deuce or three years. Groom the core, but should James Wisniewski fit, cap-wise, brilliant.

    Believe you and I talked him up last November but his cap hit rendered it all a nonstarter.

    I’m also solidly behind The Suit and not waving any poms-poms for Brad Richards. Too much of a gamble for a pivot with concussion issues. That’s as logical as pondering an Ulf Nilsson/Anders Hedberg comeback.

    Besides, he’s The Wrong Richards. Mike’s the one.

    Realistically, I can’t see Philly abiding. Nonetheless, if Philly bows out quick to the Bs, and their locker room is as factionalized as rumored, between Pronger followers and Richards’, or those who didn’t backdoor Hartnell’s wife, maybe we make a run at him.

    In the interim Ville Leino’s a good fallback, Suit. Paul Stastny, better.

    Though should San Jose have to gut their roster a la Chicago last year post Stanley Cup maybe we make a run at Little Joe.

    • Section 121 says:

      Not sure if you were actually referring to me not the Suit…

      but yes, avoid Brad Richards at any price

      and while we’re at it, trade Gabby

    • Dave says:

      Thanks for the kind words, I apprecaite it.

  7. The Suit says:

    I’m not against getting Brad Richards if the price/contract length is right. Or Statsny if the deal includes the right pieces.

    As far as Philly goes, there is no chance in hell they are going to trade him to the Rangers or any time for that matter.

    He may party with college kids, hangout with porn stars, and war with the the Philly media, but he is still not going anywhere thanks to his skillz.

  8. Matt J says:

    Guys if we had our same team virtually this year and Brad Richards how can we go wrong? For the right length of years and price this deal cannot go bad. If we get him for let’s say 4 years which should be the magic number, we cannot lose. Brad Richards is solid. We might not win a cup with him but he makes us better. We also need veteran leadership and he likes Torts anyway. The Satsny deal looks horrible anyway you cut it. I’m sorry but it’s over. People to be let go this year.

    Prospal
    Eminger
    Drury
    Mccabe

    And pending a decent trade Wolski.
    This team will be fine. If Grachev can find himself and Kreider hopefully joins the team next year after McD and Stepan get in his ear we are well on our way. Gaborik will be fine for all you non-believers. Put him on a line with Richards and Dubi and he’ll drop 30+ goals easy.

    • wwpd says:

      looking over the past decade or so, how many teams not led by a top 3 draft pick or an entire squad of legitimate HOF candidates (or both) have won the Cup?

      I can only think of 1.

      • Dave says:

        Devils, Red Wings, Canes, Ducks

        • wwpd says:

          Devils – sadly yes.
          Ducks – Pronger, Neidermayer.
          Canes – Eric Staal.
          Wings – I assume you mean the 2008? Fine, Lidstrom is the only guaranteed first ballot HOFer on that team if you don’t think at least Datsyuk and possibly Zetterberg are well on their way. But come on man, it’s the Wings. Whats it been like 20 years now that they are one of the top teams in the league every season? No comparison there :)