Idiotic Free agency leaves Rangers in good position

July 7, 2013, by

This July 5th, was perhaps the most stupid free agency opening in living memory. When a player scratched in the Cup Final (Victor Stalberg) can turn his level of ‘performance’ into a four year deal you have to wonder. When Andrew journeyman Ference can – at 34 no less – turn his bottom pair duties for Boston into four years 12+ million you continue to wonder.

When Ryane Clowe – for all his obvious talent – can turn an injury, concussion plagued season and 3 goal production into a five year deal with a significant pay rise you know the last of the sane general managers have lost their marbles.

There were countless deals this Friday that left heads scratching, that made a mockery of the lockout (once again) and left teams who managed somehow to exercise caution in a good position. Maybe it was just that the Rangers couldn’t spend this summer what others could but the Rangers figure to benefit from all this madness.

Next year it’s entirely possible the likes of Thomas Vanek, Marian Gaborik (remember him), the Sedin twins (don’t discount it), Patrick Marleau, Phil Kessel, Paul Statsny, Jason Pominville, Dustin Brown, Matt Read and Joe Pavelski may enter free agency. Just a brief glimpse ahead suggests the talent level promises to be much better than this summer.

Many of the clubs that are traditionally free agent players have shot their load this summer. Surely without significant moves and asset sacrifice, these clubs cannot be in for the big names next season. The Penguins and their own invisible cap appear hamstrung, the Flyers can only buy so many players out and the Red Wings and Leafs have placed their stock in middle tier, over paid players such as Weiss and Clarkson. Sometimes patience is key. For once was it the Rangers that showed it?

Continue to scan this year’s deals and you’ll find so many bad contracts handed out in a desperate attempt to get an edge. Is Rob Scuderi really worth a 4 year, 16 million deal? Is Nathan Horton worth the maximum length deal allowed? Did a marginal NHL forward such as Nystrom really get 10m from the Predators? How does Clark MacArthur get 6.5m after last year’s performance? The league has gone mad.

Many Rangers fans find it hard to like Glen Sather. Even more find it hard to trust him when free agency comes around each summer but credit has to go to Sather as free agency enters the weekend. In a phase where the Rangers have begun to enter the ‘win now mode’ there appears to be at least one eye on the bigger picture.

The Rangers still have a young team, have prospects on the horizon and look set to make sure they can supplement the core next summer too. Successful franchises, or at least those that are successful long term, don’t bet the house on black. For once it appears the Rangers have gambled wisely.


  1. Matt Josephs says:

    Next summer we could potentially buy out Richards and sign a solid free agent. We’ll have to see about the cap space and look into the future a bit, but it’s possible.

    Really glad Sather didn’t do anything stupid this summer. We’re set up well for the future so long as Richards doesn’t go down with injury. Now it’s just up to our guys to perform.

    • Chris says:

      With the cap going up next summer AND Richards like being bought out and a few others to be moved I think there’s a strong chance the Rangers recruit.

      • Centerman21 says:

        I don’t know about those “Hamstrung” teams you spoke of. With all teams operating under 64.3 mil the cap could go up by 10% or more by next season. Average Growth alone would put the Salary Cap at last seasons 70 mil. I believe it could be more than that. The league is planning a multitude of outdoor games next season. All of them are sure to lure in more fans and more revenue. More HRR means a higher Salary Cap. All crazy GM’s will find some money to spend. We’ve been here before and Holmgrem finds a way to dole out a max contract somewhere. He’s out of his mind. That man scares me.

  2. prole30 says:

    Yes, Scuderi is worth it.
    The Rangers are gambling that Richards will return to form. If he does, they have a decent team. If not, there’s a big hole at centre.
    Parros has joined Prust at Montreal. Who’s going to drop the gloves for us? Dorsett is a middleweight.

    • Tim B says:

      Boyle. Asham was waived. Benoit Pouliot will fight alot. Bickel is still under team control. Dorsett will also fight.

      • Tim B says:

        Doninic moore has fought a few times before

      • prole30 says:

        No Pouliot doesn’t fight much. Ference cleaned his clock but he did knock down Kreci and Horcoff. That’s it recently. Boyle can’t fight. Bickel would be okay if he could also play hockey. Against the Orrs and the Sesitos you need someone to keep order.

      • bayman says:

        Boyle has proven to be a terrible fighter. He’s courageous enough…just not skilled enough.

    • cv19 says:

      Visors are coming, fighting is going.

  3. VRP says:

    Pitts has about 25m cap hit in Crosby, Letang, and Slewfoot Malkin. The other 20 players get to carve up less than 40m, and Scuderi has already claimed 4m of that. Gonna be fun. Will any of the remaining 19 be able to skate without assistance?

  4. KSC says:

    I apologize in advance fo the long post…
    While I Agree that most of these where ridiculous contracts given out… and with that some teams MAY have painted themselves into a corner. I say “may have” because if you actually look at these teams cap numbers for NEXT YEAR most of these teams still have enough space to chase UFA’s next season.

    With multiple winter classics next year there’s a reason we keep hearing the cap with jump big next year… I’ve heard as much as $10 mil but mostly people seem to think it will be around $70m.

    So with that number if you look at… PHI they will have $16m to sign B. Schenn(5), Couturier(3), replace/let go Timonen and Meszaros…(guesstimate contracts $) leaves them with about $8mil to find a goalie/bring in a FA… and that’s doesn’t even count the cap relief they will get with Pronger or any contracts moved via trade…

    DET- $27m to replace Alfie, Samuelsson, Bertuzzi, Quincy, Erricson, DeKeyser, backup G… not too hard

    CBJ- $24m to sign about seven guys, only Gaborik, Erixon, Nikitin are of much value

    SJ- $31 for Thornton, Marleau, Pavelski, and Boyle

    I could go on but by now (if not tired of reading) you must get the point…
    Compare that to NYR- True $49m (~56 w/Richards buyout)… but with 3/4 people signed… are we really going to put together a whole new team?
    Callahan(5.5), Brassard(4), Krieder(2.5), Stepan(4.5), Hagelin (2.5),Zucc(2.5), Girardi(5), MDZ(4), Moore(2), McDonagh (5), Hank(8)… Consertively that leaves ~$3.5m left to fill out the roster(about 8 guys) ~10 w/o Richards…

    So there’s plenty of flexibility… but are we really going to use it to chase big names or are we sticking with what we got?

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      Good post. GMs are really counting on the cap going up and the Rangers have virtually their whole team to sign between now and the beginning of next season.

      The Rangers would do well to have a prospect or two break out this year (Miller, Lindberg, McIlrath, Fast, etc.) to help with the salary structure next season.

  5. AD says:

    It will be nice to have cap flexibility in a year where some marquee players may become available. However, if players such as Clarkson, Clowe, Nystrom, etc…were able to get the size/term contracts they signed, wouldn’t that imply next year’s free agent signings will be even more insane?

    Sather has had the luxury of hiring/firing a number of his selected coaches; signing/buying out a number of his selected free-agents, and has reached his shelf life. Time for him to go.

  6. Walt says:

    As much as I hated the BR decision, after reading the article, maybe Slats was thinking long term, and we beneifit from it.

    A D above made a very interesting point, what makes anyone think that the signings next year won’t be any better (insane)than this year?

    I won’t get excited at all until the next season starts, and we see how we play. If there is one reason every fan of the game should be pissed off about, it’s the shortened season, and based on the FA market this past season, these owners learned nothing at all!

  7. Mikeyyy says:

    Amnesty buyouts. Someone must have found a loophole.

  8. Johnny Red says:

    Agree with what you said except if Sather had the money he would have been in on the insanity as well. These owners and gm’s can’t control themselves and the players reap the rewards. Let’s hope this opens Sather’s eyes with free agents.

    • Spozo says:

      Sather could have been in on the insanity if he wanted to. He could have bought BR and his 6.67 million dollar cap hit out. The decision to keep the guy had as much to do with believing he would have a bounce back year as that the free agent class this year was very crappy. Sather very much could have been in the bidding war that saw David Clarkson get a max length contract but he decided keeping Ricards for another year was better for the team.