Rangers and Their Unique Opportunity

July 7, 2011, by

The best teams in the NHL, or any sport for that matter, are the teams that live for the now but also constantly have one eye on the future. In the NHL this usually means scouting, drafting and player development. There is however, another way for the Rangers to continue to build a perennial contender. They may have an opportunity that not many clubs will have.

The Rangers have an opportunity but it depends what you think of the current roster. In my opinion the Rangers are in great shape heading into next season. They have acquired top end skill (Mr Richards), solidified their top 6 defense (with Erixon) and have a great tandem in net – an understatement. The Rangers have cap space, a ton of depth up front (mostly young) and entering camp there are plenty of prospects ready to compete for NHL roster spots that, thanks to the aforementioned depth, may start their seasons developing in the AHL. So, what is this unique opportunity now that we’ve identified that the Rangers are in a good state entering next year?

The example is the San Jose Sharks. The Rangers should, barring an unexpected opportunity, resist making additional moves and take advantage of rare cap space. A few seasons ago the hard pressed New Jersey Devils had a roster problem by the name of Vladimir Malahkov (remember him?). The only way the Devils could solve this was by giving away a quality draft pick to the Sharks to ‘persuade’ them to take on the contract of Malahkov. He never played for the Sharks and eventually that draft pick became David Perron, a very good young NHL’er who has already had a 50 point season in his young career.

With potentially 3-4m in cap space entering the season, the Rangers should look to make the same kind of move. Indeed, with the Parise situation the Devils may once again be a team eventually looking to shed a bad contract but there could be several teams in this situation. With some patience and the cap space allowing for bigger (prorated) contracts in-season, the Rangers could offer to help a desperate team during next season. All they would want back is a quality draft pick. The Rangers are fortunate that with their deep pockets and big market presence they can bury a bad contract in the minors if it isn’t the same scenario like the Sharks had with the retiring Malahkov.

We recently saw wily operator Brian Burke make a lopsided trade with Nashville as the Predators needed to clear space in preparation for a new Shea Weber deal. Toronto took advantage of their own cap space by taking on Matt Lombardi’s deal. Glen Sather is also a wily, veteran general manager. Hopefully Sather and Tortorella think the team is ready based on what is already in the organisation and can then use this cap space to grab some picks/assets to help in the future. The Rangers have drafted very well in recent years so using their (at present) good situation to their advantage should be a serious consideration.



  1. howiehockey says:

    Totally agree…Great article!!!!

  2. Matt J says:

    We are a ton better this year than last but this isn’t our year to win the cup (although anything can happen). Our real opportunity is the season after This one. Let’s start here wolski is getting paid 3.8 million this coming season and the only way to justify that number is if he puts up 60 points or more. Probably won’t happen but I think he comes close. A championship roster does not include names like Avery either. My hope is that the season after next kreider hagelin and Thomas and maybe even bourque are on the full time roster.

    • RangerSmurf says:

      “Let’s start here wolski is getting paid 3.8 million this coming season and the only way to justify that number is if he puts up 60 points or more”

      60 points on this market would’ve been worth about $5.5m. He only needs about Dubi/Cally numbers (40-50 points) to justify 3.8m. I’ll say closer to 50 since he doesn’t do as much as Dubi/Cally.

      • Matt J says:

        This market is pretty thin. It was a pretty idiotic contract to begin with. I imagine we’ll have to cut ties with him after this season if he doesn’t have a good season with Richards as his center.

        The Rangers have to be cost effective in the coming years. I imagine Girardi gets moved eventually, and feds doesn’t get re-signed after this year. MDZ is a free agent after this year, and i would like us to lock him up if he bounces back. I don’t imagine even if wolski is re-signed it will be for 3.8 million. And you can’t compare dubi/cally to wowo because they are actually noticeable in the defensive zone, and bring other intangibles as well.

        • RangerSmurf says:

          He was coming off a split 65 point season, with a new team that didn’t want to be heavily invested, the contract was certainly justified when he signed it.

          I don’t see Wolski on this team beyond this year, that doesn’t mean he can’t be valuable this year, however.

          • Zen says:

            Completely agree. If he isn’t bought out, I expect Wolski to have a big year. He is the type of player that excels playing highly skilled line-mates. I would say that Gaborik & BR qualify (lol).

          • Matt J says:

            Kreider will take Wolski’s place even if it means Kreider will struggle. He’s the guy that should be our best left winger down the road.

  3. Section 121 says:

    What’s better?




    • zach says:

      doubt torts is gonna break up the calli artie and dubi line, feds will prolly play with richards and gabs, he had good chemistry with gabby in the playoffs.

  4. Matt says:

    The recent Drury buyout has finally (albeit rather ignominiously) helped the Rangers dig themselves out of a hole caused by bad contracts. Now the best way to improve the team to add another bad contract?

    Yes, a top 5 pick next year would definitely be a great addition, but why saddle ourselves with yet another bad contract even if you can simply bury the player in the minors?

  5. timranger1 says:

    is there a way we could end up with alexander semin????he would look great on our new first line ,or even on our second

    • the suit says:

      I want no part of Semin. He doesn’t fit the system, and he’s soft.

      The Rangers should avoid big moves and big contracts until we see what the kids can do. Still, credit to Chris for thinking outside of the box.

      • HARLEMBLUES says:

        I agreed see what kids r keepers.I would like 2 see this core have playoff success.Stay young, fast athletic and tough. resist adding a big contract until we’re right there if needed.You build towards the cup you don’t chase it.

    • Matt J says:

      Semin carries a cap hit of 6 million. We don’t have space for him. Also, if Ryan Callahan can knock him down with ease he has no place on this team.

      • Zen says:

        You can’t build a team of tough guys and expect to win a CUP. You have to have some purely skilled players (that are often soft) on your team. I am sure Callahan could knock down St.Louis or Bure, but I sure as hell would want them on my team.

        • the suit says:

          Why not have skilled guys who can take a hit…ie Sharp, Horton, Kessler, Toews, etc.

        • M says:

          You’re sure he could knock down St. Louis??? Terrible. St. Louis may be short but he’s built like a brick sh*t-house (yes I have skated with him). Cally is a beast for sure, but what suit is pointing out is that soft players like: Christensen and Semin are not going to build a cup team.

    • Zen says:

      I love Semin, but also understand the suit’s point. Though I have a feeling that he wouldn’t mind so much when Semin-BR-Gabby outscores every line in the league, because THAT could very well happen.

      • the suit says:

        Semin would not win us a cup, he can barely get the Caps out of the first round. Plus we already have a soft one dimensional player, his name is Marian Gaborik.

        The Sharps and Kesslers of the world may be unavailable, but if Kreider has some of that will-skill, watch out.

      • Brian SCS says:

        I would never want a guy like Semin on my team. Any man who throws closed fist slaps in a hockey fight has no business even showing up in New York, much less being a Ranger.

        • timranger1 says:

          semin skated circles around our whole team last year in the last game of our season,the guy is a little soft and a bit of a flake but,he has otherwordly skills when he wants to ,he made our whole team look like they were standing still ,or playing in mud,we could put out two scary first lines and have a deep team.I understand all the naysayers but we have alot of the same style players on our team some just plain old scoring talent would help,if not semin,I would love zach parise,love his game,and he is another american player…

        • scrangersfan says:

          I agree with you Brian,I saw that fight with Semin it makes me wonder about that guy.Is he a tinker bell?

  6. jerry says:

    heres my line up.

    Ruslan Fedotenko ($1.400m) / Brad Richards ($6.666m) / Marian Gaborik ($7.500m)
    Brandon Dubinsky ($4.000m) / Artem Anisimov ($1.850m) / Ryan Callahan ($4.000m)
    Mats Zuccarello-Aasen ($1.750m) / Derek Stepan ($0.875m) / Christian Thomas ($0.838m)
    Michael Rupp ($1.500m) / Brian Boyle ($1.525m) / Brandon Prust ($0.800m)

    Marc Staal ($3.975m) / Daniel Girardi ($3.325m)
    Ryan McDonagh ($1.300m) / Michael Del Zotto ($1.087m)
    Tim Erixon ($1.750m) / Mike Sauer ($1.500m)
    Steve Eminger ($1.125m)

    Henrik Lundqvist ($6.875m) / Martin Biron ($0.875m)

    BUYOUTS: Chris Drury ($3.716m)

    CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
    (these totals are compiled without the bonus cushion)
    SALARY CAP: $64,300,000; CAP PAYROLL: $58,234,167; BONUSES: $2,337,500
    CAP SPACE (21-man roster): $6,065,833

    • scrangersfan says:

      I agree Jerry, it is a perfect linup.
      just wonder, no one is talking about Prospel. Is he out of the picture? IMO.if he is healthy he could still be an asset witha young team like the Rangers. A great montor.

  7. Brian SCS says:

    Interesting idea, in sticking with the Devils theme how about trading Wolski for table scraps, and then use the remaining cap room to trade EC to the Devils for Brian Rolston and a 2nd round pick. Gordie is golden with 2nd rounders and Rolston is a versatile vet with SC experience that may come in handy during the Rangers cup run.

    Yes, I know this would never happen and Rolston’s best days are long gone. But consider the irony – Rolston goes to the Devils because Slats won’t give him a 4th year, yet he winds up playing said 4th year as a Ranger anyway.