Value for money? Not in New York.

January 4, 2014, by
Rarity: Chris Kreider is one of few that represent value this year. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Rarity: Chris Kreider is one of few that represent value this year. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Who gets the blame; the General Manager? The coaching staff? Or perhaps the players themselves? When you look at the Rangers’ disappointing position in the standings and general up and down performances from a game to game basis, one thing that may go unnoticed is how the Rangers are not getting value for money from their roster. In the cap era, getting good return from your investments is critical and is something found on almost every successful roster.

With New York it obviously begins with Rick Nash ($7.8 million) , Brad Richards ($6.667 million) and yes, Henrik Lundqvist (at present, $6.875 million). When judging the financial returns solely on this season, none of the critical trio named are giving the Rangers acceptable production. Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, and in fact almost every Ranger player on a sizeable cap hit hasn’t produced.

Whatever the mitigating circumstances, the underwhelming returns continue with Ryan Callahan, Derek Stepan, Michael Del Zotto and, until recently, Derick Brassard. No ‘core player’ has produced as anticipated. Considering cap hits of $2 million dollars and above, it can be argued only Ryan McDonagh and Mats Zuccarello have produced above expectations. When you consider, from a financial perspective, almost an entire roster hasn’t lived up to its billing it’s a huge area for concern.

Compare the Rangers to Chicago’s roster. Brandon Saad would be leading the Rangers in scoring, and he is one of several Hawks giving the powerhouse Western Conference team great production at a low cost. His 31 points so far have come with a cap hit of less than $1 million. Getting value from entry level deals is a great way for a club to find depth and build success.

While in the minors at present, second round draft pick Brandon Pirri has 11 points in 24 games for the Hawks (with just one goal less than Rick Nash) and has also given the Hawks great value (the consistent theme of this post) as he too brings a cap charge of less than $900,000.

It continues: Marks Kruger and Andrew Shaw (who would be leading the Rangers in goals) both bring cap charges of less than $1.4 million and are both very effective members of the Hawks. While the Hawks are perhaps an extreme example (multiple lottery draft picks certainly help build a roster quickly), they are perhaps setting the league standard.

Good value for money is critical. It means clubs can commit to the right players on long term deals and means a franchise takes less risk with committing to big names (Nash, Richards come to mind). These clubs are less reliant on their big deals.

Right now, you can argue the Rangers only have a handful of ‘good value’ players. Mats Zuccarello has exceeded expectations and is thriving on a relatively cheap deal. Chris Kreider is performing well, particularly judged against his entry level deal, and Ryan McDonagh is growing into a Norris trophy candidate, so that’s surely seen as money well spent.

Yes, injuries to the likes of Nash, Callahan and Staal are unfortunate, and are certainly valid mitigating circumstances to the Rangers current under performance. But whether it be Taylor Pyatt, Arron Asham, or the since forgotten Darroll Powe, several recent Rangers’ transactions (the list is long) too often don’t stack up compared to the better teams in the league.

With several contracts up for renewal in the near future, and with a new coaching team in place long term, the Rangers face a critical period of roster change. It’s time the organisation got back to getting value for money from its roster. It will likely coincide with a return to winning ways.


  1. BobM says:

    NASH $7.8M 25 GAMES 7 GOALS 9 ASST 16 PT -4
    RICHARDS $6.6M 42 GAMES 9 GOALS 18 ASST 27 PT -9
    CALLY $4.2M 25 GAMES 7 GOALS 6 ASST 13 PT -6
    BRASS $3.2M 41 GAMES 6 GOALS 16 ASST 22 PT -10
    STEP $3.0M 41 GAMES 7 GOALS 18 ASST 25 PT -4

    $25M on 5 players = 36 GOALS 67 ASST 42 games -33

    I will never forget when he was GM of the Oilers and he said “If I had the NYR checkbook, I’d win the cup every year.”

    On the other hand:

    ZUCC $1.1M 41 GAMES 10 GOALS 20 ASST 30 PT -2
    KREIDER $800K 35 GAMES 10 GOALS 12 ASST 22 PT +9
    MAC $4.7M 42 GAMES 7 GOALS 17 ASST 24 PT -4

    • @Centerman21 says:

      You say “on the other hand” and point out the contracts of the 3 players the Rangers are getting value from. However you make no point or view. Only repeating what Chris said. I think Sather thought his player would be able to score more and play the same stiff defense they had been for the last several seasons as we all did. Hank has played fine but the Defenseman in front of him have had trouble with the single coverage. They’re being asked to play 1 on 1 with the leagues best forwards. Something they were not used to and I think confidence has fallen off since the start of the season.
      Injuries have played a large part in how this season has played out. I think of all the players on the team, Nash has been the largest failure of this team. He has to begin to do his job on a daily basis. Maybe he’s still messed up from the concussion he suffered in game 3.

      A target for Sather should be a young player like Craig Smith of the Preds. He’d be leading NY in Goals (11G) and is a righty Centerman that plays wing mainly. He comes with a 2 mil Cap Charge for 1 more season. He scores most of his goals around the net which is what I think the Rangers need. Especially on the right side and on the 3rd line.

      • Walt says:

        I agree with most of the posting except, injuries are a part of the game, and you don’t hear the Pens use that as an excuse. I believe that as a team, they lost well over 150 man games due to injuries, and we got beat by their AHL team, not once, but twice!!

        The so called system isn’t working, AV should show some creativity, and change things around to make it easier for the team to play in a comfort zone, which obviusaly isn’t the case! I go back to what I said earlier today, the front office, coaching, and team are currently in a cluster fu*k!!

        • @Centerman21 says:

          I have to agree on the coach. To a degree you want to see them stick with it until it works but missing the playoffs or sneaking in is not an option.
          I remember hearing Sather say he “didn’t want to hire a coach to grow with the team” after Torts was fired.

  2. Bloomer says:

    Signing Lundquist to that huge contract was a mistake and it will hamper the Rangers ability to compete it the future. But if Sather doesn’t sign him the press and fans would be all over him. The fans want big names players and that is what they get.

  3. joe719 says:

    For a moment, forget about the “bang for the buck” regarding the players; what about the head coach? Granted this is not the type of team he wants; but still. He can’t seem to get anything out of them.I mentioned this a few weeks ago: Could we be looking at another Bryan Trottier situation? And if we are, does Sather have the gonads to admit it after firing Torts. Would he fire him to save the Season, and more importantly, could Sather himself survive another bad coaching decision. I know Dolan said hes got the job as long as he wants; but with the money invested in the new Garden and the way both the Knicks and the Rangers are playing, loyalty can disappear very quickly. And who in their right mind would take over this team the way it is constructed? Did anybody ever believe that these would be the questions facing this team 40 games into the Season? Just a total disaster!!

  4. John says:

    It is time for Rangers to make a trade. The core is not even a core. The adjunct players are now the core of this team and they (Zucarello, McDonugh, Kreider and a few others) are playing at or above expectations. Shake up time has arrived. Giving Henrik that $$ was a bad idea but it is done. Time for him to sit. Enough going back and forth. The kid, Talbot, deserves regular play now. Let him play. Players seem to be “up” when he is in goal. If he is winning 2 of 3 games the winning % is way up. Sitting him after every loss is unacceptable esp. if he is giving up a max of 3 goals to good teams and typically 0-2 gaa. 5 goals against a beaten up Pitt. is not right. IF they were healthy, it would have been 8 or 9. Let the kid play, trade Delzotto, Callahan and Girardi if need be and get a scorer back. Let Boyle or Stepan be the new “C” and Krieder and McDonugh as the new “A”.

  5. Ted says:

    Once again I will try to point out the obvious. Reading the list of players not playing well has to give everyone a pretty good hint what is going on. Players will make it quite clear if they are happy with the coaching situation or not. The Rangers core has made it quite clear that the current coaching staff is not up to par. Lets face it, so many players just cannot cut it in New York. The same holds true with coaches, some just cannot handle the NY pressure. AV might have had a good run in Vancouver, a town that is hockey crazy but just not New York crazy. The pressure on player and coach is just different in NY. The players are not responding to AV, this is a team that should be contending with Pitts for the division lead, they are underwhelming due to poor leadership. Phily made a change at coach after what, one week. I am not a advocate of change mid season, but it is time to crank up the pressure on the coach to do the job or make way for someone who can. Thne players need leadership, time to give them what they need. Please lets get the pressure on the coachung staff to get the job done or get out of the way.

    • mr.mister says:

      I hope pro. athletes don’t need a coach to tell them give 110% on the ice!!

  6. Walt says:

    Well stated Joe!!

  7. Walt says:

    Here’s an idea that the team should take into consideration, do what Walter O’Malley did with the Dodgers, sign players to one year contracts!

    If you produce, you get a nice pay raise, if you don’t , well there’s the door, don’t let it hit you on the way out!!!!!

    You see, if you get these hugh contracts you get comfortable, and maybe don’t push yourself that hard. When your hungrey, you bust your tail to make ends meet. There are very few players who sign very large contracts and perform up to their standards, most get a bit lazy, and go through the motions!!

  8. Frank Cerbone says:

    A number of these players are younger & have done well in the Big Apple before. It’s Vigneault that is the problem. While the power play has improved, even strength & defensive play has been a disaster.

    Tim is a coming for Vigneault to be canned.

    Andrew is a UFA and costs nothing but $. 2nd fastest skater to Hagelin in NHL, never gets hurt, great forchecker, Wuth Hagelin & Cogliano on the same line, the forcheck would be the best.
    On defense, Tom Gilbert, right handed UFA defenseman is an option. Not as good as maybe as the Girardi of last season, but better than Stralman.

    However, both Sather & Gordie Clark really struggle in evaluating talent, so the future doesn’t look promising. If MDZ goes, that’s one more Ranger #1 wasted to go with the UFA signings Richards, Kasparitis, Gomez, Drury, Holik, Roszival.

  9. BobM says:


    There not need be any point or view. I was stating the obvious.

    Like him or not, Howard Stern is a very good interviewer. Why you ask? Because he gets people to open up about things.

    If I were in the lockerroom, and could see for myself what is going on, perhaps I could render an opinion, but even then, some of it is very subjective.

    I have watching the Rangers since I was about 10 years old, that is 50 years of this, and this is nothing new. They have hired and fired, Emile Francis put the entire team on waivers, fired coaches and took over GM and coaching duties himself, gotten team psychiatrists involved, moved the practice facility from Long Beach Long Island to Rye Playland to Greenburgh. Introduced video tapes. They have traded away the likes of Eddie Giacamon and Brian Leetch and Ron Dugay and Nick Fotiu and Sergei Zubov.

    This is a business to Management and entertainment to us. It is not religion and going to the Garden is not a religious experience unless praying to God for a tying goal counts. Until the turmoil starts hitting management in the pocketbook, things will not change. Folks have already purchased their season tickets, TV rights have been sold. etc. Kids will still buy jerseys and life goes on.

  10. Frank Cerbone says:

    22 yr old, 4th ROUND 5-10, 190 lb midget right handed Colorado defenseman Tyson Barrie is a player Rangers are interested in. Good puck handler & right handed, but he looks like a #5 situational defenseman. Rangers need steady defensemen that complement each other like Tom Gilbert, Girardi, & McDonough.

    Paul Stasny, a Richards type, pass 1st guy is a UFA in off season, but COGLIANO will be cheaper & play in many more situations.

  11. ranger17 says:

    Why keep Kreids teph & Nash together they just don’t mesh . Need to put Hags with 21 & 61 , and 36 16 20 together . Can’t hurt to try these lines , 20 & 61 on same line not working with Step having what ever kind of year he is having . But then you have 67 19 & 24 don’t know how that would work out . Seems like any line 36 plays on seems to get it going , he got 67 out of his funk

  12. Jess says:

    What a laugh fest we have here as once again we see New York Ranger fans step on themselves regarding this team.

    Frank C

    “However, both Sather & Gordie Clark really struggle in evaluating talent, so the future doesn’t look promising.”

    Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan, Marc Staal, Ryan Callahan, Cam Talbot, Carl Hagelin, and Dan Girardi.

    Yep they are terrible at evaluating talent all right. You moan at how this franchise is run but then you advocate the same broken ways of doing business that has gotten the Rangers to where they are today.

    Sorry but simply tossing money at UFAs has been proven to be a failure or have you missed the last 20 years? You also ignore that Ranger fans are as much to blame for this mess as the franchise itself.

    ” Richards, Kasparitis, Gomez, Drury, Holik, Roszival.”

    How many Ranger fans wanted Sather to sign all of these free agents? And here you are advocating more of the same broken mindset that got the Rangers were they are today.

    Bob M

    Eddie Giacomin was waived by the Rangers not traded as Detroit picked him up.

  13. NJBrian says:

    What about Boyle 6-7 inches 36 penalty minutes and not a threat to anyone. 22 games no goals and 1.8 million and someone wants him as captain. You must be on Sathers payroll to!!