Prust likely to test free agency

Per Larry Brooks, the gap between the Rangers and free agent Brandon Prust is a sizable one:

Though sources stressed that lines of communication remain open and that it is conceivable that Prust could re-sign before July 1, it is believed the difference between the parties is significant — upward of $1 million over the life of a three-year contract.

With ten days until free agency, a $1 million gap may as well be $5 million, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Rangers are going to let Prust walk. A part of the core of forwards that coach John Tortorella leans on, Prust would be a valuable asset to any club. You don’t just let someone like that walk away.

Coming off his two-year, $1.6 million contract ($800k cap hit), Prust is due for a large raise. Many, including myself, price the winger in the $1.5-$2 million range. It’s represents a big raise in recognition of hard work and production, while still recognizing that Prust is a fourth line player. He may be famous for saying that “It’s just pain”, but he’s a bottom six forward.

What is likely happening is that Prust is seeing some of the contracts handed out to players like Mike Rupp and his $1.75 million cap hit, and believes he should be making the same type of money. But for every Rupp that gets overpaid, there are guys like Arron Asham ($775k), Zenon Konopka ($700k), and Ryan Carter ($750k).

There is nothing wrong with giving a guy like Prust, who has given everything he has to this organization, a hefty and well deserved pay raise. However that pay raise needs to fit into the organization’s plans to build and maintain a Stanley Cup contender. For every extra dollar spent on Prust, a fourth line player, the Rangers need to spend one less dollar to re-sign other key players.

The Prust situation is a delicate one, but not one that’s surprising. Prust is looking to get his one big payday, knowing this could be his only shot. The Rangers are looking to keep him in the organization without sacrificing short and long term plans. Prust is a player that will garner strong interest around the league, so it’s up to both sides to make sure this doesn’t get ugly.

12 Responses to “Prust likely to test free agency”

  1. Zen says:

    I have no problem with giving him Boyle/Rupp money, but I have a feeling he is asking for more and that other teams will give it to him. Can we possibly justify giving Prust over $2.5M (let’s say)? He just isn’t worth that much, no matter what intangibles he brings. This team already has too much invested in their 4th line.

    • Dave says:

      In the end I think Prust gets Boyle money. If he wants more, let him walk. It’ll suck, but it’s not worth it.

  2. Tim B says:

    Konopka seems like a logical replacement for Feds or Prust. Any chance Rupp could be traded?

  3. ranger17 says:

    1.5 is fair for Prust or 5 over 3 yrs . Would hate to lose him but if you give him 2M per you get a 6M 4th line next . Way too much for 4th line players . Need to be responsible with everyone .so as to sign top line players

  4. Rob sahm says:

    I just hope his agent dosent play hard ball I will go as far as three years at two million per it is a hefty raise if that dont do the trick then take a look at konopka

  5. Walt says:

    Prust will re-sign with the Rangers, and it won’t break the bank. He got a shot at playing here, and will get some $1.3 to $1.5 per year, for three years. That would be fair for everyone. The art of negotiating is that everyone wins, and that would be fair. He likes the town, and Boyle his buddy is signed, so I see him here for a few more years. Then we could go for Konopka to replace Feds, good face off guy, tough in the corners, and has some skill!

  6. ranger17 says:

    Konopka Gustead would work also . Gustead would cost more then Prust i think , good face off man and can handle himself also

  7. MBN says:

    $1 million over 3 years tells me the Rangers are offering a 3 year deal. I have to believe the difference is a 3 year deal offered at roughly 1.5 per vs. a demand from the Prust camp for 1.8 per. Somewhere within those parameters.

    As much as I respect and appreciate Prust and what he brings to the table (errr……ice) I have a hard time giving him more than 1.5 per.

  8. jerry says:

    i think hes worth 1.5 to 1.8 per any more than that i think would be overpayment.i love the guy but hes not hard to replace.

    • Dave says:

      Yup. It’s tough to separate emotions from players as fans, but he’s not worth more than Boyle money.