At financial crossroads, how will Rangers cope?

August 16, 2013, by
Money or success?

Money or success?

We knew this time was coming. Rangers’ fans knew that as the team’s window of contention began to open so would the period come where multiple essential Rangers would approach contract negotiation time. It leaves the Rangers in a sort of crossroads over the next twelve months.

With Derek Stepan still unsigned, Henrik Lundqvist, Dan Girardi and Ryan Callahan all approaching free agency, the absolute core of this team – Rick Nash aside – is in need of new deals. Whether the Rangers can afford to pay the going rate for all these players is questionable. Brad Richards’ uncertain future, the impending free agency of Anton Stralman, and a potential career year –in a contract year– for Derick Brassard also play roles in the questionable financial future for the Rangers.

On the open market Callahan, Lundqvist and Girardi would seriously cash in. If a guy such as Bryan Little can turn a seven goal season into a multi-million, long term deal; a guy such as Callahan or a solid top pair blue liner such as Girardi could break the bank. Clearly the Rangers will not let these players leave, but will new (appropriately paid) contracts hamstring the Rangers to continue to ice a competitive roster?

Think of the financial problems that may arise not now, but in 12 months time. If Derick Brassard follows up his impressive start with the Rangers he could demand well north of $4m. Replacing Brad Richards appropriately (if the buyout happens) won’t come cheap if the answer to that question lies outside of the franchise. There are no guarantees prospects develop, so replacing Richards isn’t as easy as inserting JT Miller or Oscar Lindberg.

Often we hear the term hometown discount. The next 12 months will tell us whether any of the above named Rangers priority is to cash in, to chase the Cup (aka take a discount, of sorts), or a combination of both. Of course, so much of the financial element of the game is speculative. Other factors include the cost savings for shedding Brad Richards or the potential increase in the salary cap in the coming seasons.

The bottom line is that this New York Rangers franchise has multiple big decisions to make internally and this roster could look very different in the next 12 months. Don’t get too attached to some of names mentioned above (or any for that matter, get attached to the team, not the players). A legitimate chance remains that one or more of your current favourite Rangers could be on the move. It promises to be a pivotal period for Glen Sather and the decision makers.


  1. Sally says:

    I would like to point out that there is a reason that they put those names on the back of the merchandise that they sell. If they trade Callahan, it is going to take me a while to get over that.

  2. Walt says:

    With the cap going up, and BR’s contract coming off of the books, signing these guys is very doable, just look at the Pens.

    Malkin, Crosby, Latang, Flurey, all signed to major contracts, along with Kunitz, and a pay raise for Dupuee, they still have room to field a good team.

    With the exception of Stralman, every other player mentioned will be signed, and we still will be a very good team. BR goes, one of the following, Miller, or Lindberg probably takes his place. Stralman not being signed, a kid will be inserted in the line up. There are plenty of options there for the team,and Slats will do the right thing.

    Now disect this post Centerman21, and make us all idiots again!

    • Centerman21 says:

      No, I think you’re right! The cap is going up and most of the core players have to be in the teams future plans. Richards has to be bought out after this season. They needed him as a bridge to the younger prospects ready to step in to a top 9 spot over the next 12 months

    • Centerman21 says:

      No one here is an idiot. We’re all Ranger fans. To me fans of other teams are the idiots!

  3. Rangers Fan in Boston says:

    A few items that lessens the concern that this post may create:

    1) Brad Richards buyout – $6.67 cap savings (unless he is hurt which is why I said all along a buyout should have happened prior to this season). $6.67 can cover two raises to core Rangers players (Callahan, Lundquist)

    2) Increasing Cap – this is speculative, however it is assumed the cap will go up and go up as much as $10M by next season. The league will generate more revenue this year with all the outdoor games. The cap will go up.

    3) The Rangers deep prospect pool. Not every prospect pans out, nor will they for the Rangers. However with so many players on a cusp of playing in the NHL (Miller, McIlrath, Kristo, Lindburg, Fast, etc.) the odds of one or two of these players becoming solid contributors is good.

    Callahan and Lundquist are not going anywhere. Girardi may, but that may be a strategic decision by the Rangers to let him go.

    For most teams, a large portion of their roster is made up of players on 1-2 year deals at any given time (rookies, RFA’s, pre-UFA’s, short term veteran deals, etc.), every team deals with these financial decisions and manipulates their roster annually to account for it.

    More often that not teams find ways to keep their core players. Good teams have depth to account for the loss of the Girardi types. I believe the Rangers do, we’ll find out.

  4. WilliamW says:

    Agree with Walt and Boston. The increase in the cap and Richards buyout wiill free up the 10+ million required to give modest raises to Hank, Callahan, Girardi, J Moore and Brassard as well as Boyle, Stralman and/or DZ should they prove themselves to be part of the “core” this season

    The strong prospect pool will enable management to be disciplined and walk away from any outrageous salary demands, though that is unlikely given the leadership and character of the group

  5. Centerman21 says:

    I hope that McIlrath is ready by next season so it’s not such a big deal if we lose a top 6 Dman to free agency. The Rangers are going to be the team handing out contracts during the season this year. A few guys were locked up this summer. The rest of the core players the organization wants to keep, will get new deals between now and the end of the season. Winning a Cup this year could help out some of the tough decisions.

  6. Evan M says:

    Didn’t BSB run a story not so long ago about how the Rangers look set for next summer?

  7. Chuck A says:

    Draft and develop. Rinse. Repeat.

  8. Johnny Red says:

    Listen people this is the new N.H.L. what teams need to do is look over their rosters and see who they want to keep and for how much. Although we fans won’t like it they then have to trade pending free agents and get something for them. This ensures a future of young players and draft picks. THAT MY FRIENDS IS THE NEW SALARY CAP N.H.L.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Walt says:

      You hit the nail on the head!!!!!

    • John says:

      I don’t like the new salary cap era! It’s BS. I say if the small town teams can’t make it, contract and stop the dilution of the NHL. You want a cap?, fine make it a soft one where those who over spend pay a tax, but make sure there is a floor, so that small teams can not take advantage!

      • Centerman21 says:

        Tell that to the owners of the small market teams that locked out the players and cancelled 1/2 of the season to not only protect the Salary Cap but to take more of the profitts and make the cap go down. If not for this last lockout, the cap could be over last years 70.2 mil. Hard to say for sure since the players share went down by 14% but the NHL grows by 5% each season on average. I wish it was a soft cap. Those Lux Taxes could’ve been sent to the bottom feeding teams to help out.

        • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

          Surprisingly it was a couple of large market owners that led the lockout charge. Boston’s Jeremy Jacobs (the man behind the last lockout, possibly the most hated owner in the sport) and Philly’s Ed Snider were head of the pack in leading the hardline negotiations during this past lockout.

      • Mark says:

        Been saying this for awhile. They will not contract though and the Commiss wants another team on the West Coast.