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Musings: The Rangers have contract headaches looming

April 3, 2014, by
Little man get paid big?

Little man get paid big?

Yes, I know Dave gave you a Musings this morning. Whatever. You’re being spoiled today with two. As the Rangers close in on a playoff spot, form, health and special teams become so incredibly important at this time of the year. With the Avalanche on tap this evening, let’s have a muse for the second time today.

It’s nice to see the Captain (the real captain) holds no apparent bitterness toward the Rangers following his coaching snub last summer. Mark Messier says the Rangers have a chance at the Cup and, if they avoid the Bruins, there’s no reason to think they can’t go far if health and form holds up.

That said, the Rangers cannot go far in the post season without a better powerplay and consistency from Nash, St Louis, Richards – in that order. The defense will keep this team in games, Henrik Lundqvist will steal games but the offense needs to spot the King a lead or two. Stating the obvious?

Captain Swap Watch: St Louis: 15 games 1+3, 1 SHG, 29 shots. Callahan: 14 games, 6 + 4, 3 PPG, 39 shots.

How do you look at those stat lines and not cringe? That said, they’re just starts. If Callahan keeps that pace up I’d like to ask him why he didn’t score at that rate in NYC.

Ryan McDonagh has ‘no structural damage’. The entire city of New York exhales.

Thinking beyond the season and to Mats Zuccarello’s contract situation. How much does he get and for how long? Do the Rangers’ have complete trust in him that he can replicate this production long term or do they still have nagging doubts due to his size and a reluctance to shoot more? He should get paid.

Is it a coincidence that the Rangers’ best line are all in contract seasons? Zuccarello, Brassard and Pouliot all need new deals. At the moment, it’s an absolute must that they’re all retained and kept together. Chemistry is priceless.

I have been quietly impressed with Kevin Klein since he came to the Rangers. They traded away talent for stability and have been rewarded. Klein and Raphael Diaz have been very good depth defenseman for the Rangers, whose defensive unit is nothing short of impressive.

The elephant in the room this summer? Marc Staal. How much and for how long do you commit to Staal? Given the money tied up on the blueline (McDonagh, Girardi, Klein), what’s the number Staal gets? He shouldn’t get more dollar than Girardi or McDonagh but again, he knows on an open market and with an increasing cap ceiling he certainly can get more. This is a huge issue about to confront Glen Sather over the summer.

The Rangers get an up close look at Paul Statsny tonight. 64 games, 53 points, on a hot streak, Statsny is certainly a good candidate to replace Richards but would he represent a similar risk to Richards? He’ll want a long term deal if he even makes it to free agency and yet his numbers are comparable to Richie Rich, he’s a health risk and last broke 60 points in 2010. That said, he’s a quality player in what will be a weak free agent market. Buyer beware?

Question time

  • What would you pay Marc Staal and is there a number you’d walk away from?
  • How much would you commit to Derick Brassard this summer?
  • Which young Rangers (if any) would you be willing to trade to improve the center position?
  • If you only kept one, who: Stralman or John Moore?
  • Are there any circumstances where you would keep Brad Richards beyond this summer?


  1. cnp says:

    About Richards- I really don’t see why they wouldnt keep him. Maybe amnesty him then restructure? But with some questions up the middle, I don’t see why they shouldn’t keep him beyond this summer.

    3rd on the Rangers in points
    1st in shots
    T-2nd in goals
    3rd in assists

    And along with Boyle, Girardi, Mcd, and Step, he hasn’t missed a game all year.

    • Chris says:

      League rules don’t allow an amnesty then restructure. Rangers can’t buy him out then sign him again.

      • cnp says:

        That makes sense. I can certainly understand letting him go financially, but I think if we can swing it that we should keep him.

        • Chris says:

          IMO he looks gassed. Not sure what he has left to give long term.

          • Steven Cifuentes says:

            Richards is gone, not just for the salary cup number but for the cap penalty if he retires.

            You cannot risk him retiring and having that amount of dead space on the cap. He is gone.

          • Melissa says:

            Unfortunately agree. Although if that contract was only another year or two, I would try and give him a chance. Six years or whatever is left on it, just not logical. And I think even he knows it.

          • cnp says:

            Yeah I’m definitely in the small minority that would prefer to keep him!

            • Chris F says:

              Richards is, what 33? He’s already well over the hill. No way the Rangers can afford to continue with his annual cap hit of $6.7 million through 2020.

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      I can’t believe we’re still discussing the merits of keeping Brad Richards. For all the reasons that have been pored over ad nauseum, he has to be bought out after this season. There just is no upside keeping an aging player with a $6.67 cap hit until the age of 40.

      • Chris F says:

        Indeed. It’s unfortunate, but this is the reality. I like Richards and would be happy to keep him around for a couple of years to help mentor the young centers.

        But the reality is, you have to buy him out now or keep him til 40. With the CBA and his contract, there is no middle ground.

    • paulronty says:

      Can the Rangers buy Richards out & resign him. That would be a good solution but is it allowed?

  2. Melissa says:

    First, I just want to say I cringed when I saw the title. I know it’s still true but after dealing with it all year with the big three, yeah not ready to deal with it some more lol.

    As for your questions:

    1. Honestly, I would pay Staal less than what Girardi is making (just because of injury history) but more than McDonagh (at the moment). If Staal asks for Callahan money, have fun in Carolina.

    2. I have been so conflicted on Brass. When he’s on, he’s great. But I see the inconsistency issues that have plagued him his whole career. Honestly, I wouldn’t pay him more than his QO at the moment and I think even that’s high. (Say whatever you want about how Stepan is playing this year, I don’t think Brass should be making more than him.)

    3. Ummm….I have to answer? I see more upside in Moore. But I also see Del Zotto in Moore so not sure I want to go through that again. If I had to guess, though, NYR would pick Moore.

    4. If that contract could be restructured, yes. Since it can’t…nope. Sorry Richie.

  3. Ray says:

    I can see keeping Richards. It seems preferable to let him go and sign a prestigious free agent like Stastny to a contract without a recapture penalty. But, what if Sather can see that a good free agent is not in the offing? The Rangers don’t have the future resources to make a Nash-like trade practical. Then giving up Richards weakens the team.

    • Melissa says:

      In the short-term, giving up Richards might very well weaken the team but here’s the problem – that recapture penalty isn’t going away and there’s no way Richards plays out that full contract. It wasn’t designed for him to play out till the end. The penalty basically forces the Rangers to buy him out or deal with consequences down the road. And everyone will be screaming if we lose someone like McDonagh because of that penalty.

    • Harlemblues says:

      When other players point to RIchards salary in negotitions then what.What do you pay Zuccarello or Brassard?Then you get caught overpaying other players. His production is not worth the numbers and he’s old.Superstar money to superstars only. Opportunity to correct a bad contract.

  4. supermaz says:

    Keep Brassard….Keep Staal at any price…Moore over greedy Stralman. Goodbye to Richards. Trade Stepan and Hagelin.

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      Trade Stepan? Why? So the Rangers have two top 6 centers to replace?

    • Chris A says:

      Why would you trade two of your best players in Stepan and Hagelin?

      Especially Hagelin who is cheap and almost impossible to replace.

  5. Zen says:

    – $5M max on Staal
    – Brass should be qualified at his salary. Not a penny more.
    – Brass and Hags are moveable, but ONLY for relatively young upgrades. Staal might make an interesting trade chip if he wants too much cash.
    – Stralman is gone. He will look to cash in. So I guess Moore, though he has been a big disappointment this season in his own end.
    – I can’t see why ANYONE would want to keep Richards. Blows my mind.

  6. WilliamW says:

    Would pay Staal a comparable number to Girardi. Would walk away if he got to Phaneuf range of $7mm

    Give Brassard a QO or a 3-4 year offer in the 4.5-5mm range. He’s proved himself a quality 2C

    Moore. Stralman has been good but Moore is cost controlled and a better skater. He, Staal, McD and Skjei should hold down the left side for the foreseeable future

    No. Buyout and bring in a bigger Legwand/Grabovski type to compete with Miller and Lindberg for the 3rd line spot

  7. Chris.C says:

    What would you pay Marc Staal and is there a number you’d walk away from? 3.5 – 4 anything above that he’s walking

    How much would you commit to Derick Brassard this summer? 1 million more then his QO, sorry just last years Playoffs is still fresh in my head. He was vanilla during the PO’s

    Which young Rangers (if any) would you be willing to trade to improve the center position? None, we need the youth. If needed Bourque, McIrath, Jean, St.Croix and Talbot.

    If you only kept one, who: Stralman or John Moore? John Moore there’s more to his game. He has a confidence issue. AV needs to recognize. The kid is very talented.

    Are there any circumstances where you would keep Brad Richards beyond this summer? Nope he’s bought out this summer

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      Ooooh, gotta disagree on Brassard in the playoffs. I thought he was one of the Rangers’ best forwards last year. Was a point a game player (in a small sample size, but still).

  8. Chris A says:

    – What would you pay Marc Staal and is there a number you’d walk away from?

    I think Staal slots in nicely around $4M – $5M a season. I wouldn’t go much higher than that.

    – How much would you commit to Derick Brassard this summer?

    His QO is $3.7M, I would start there and work up to $4.2M. He’s one season away from UFA so his situation will be very interesting.

    – Which young Rangers (if any) would you be willing to trade to improve the center position?

    None. Personally, I would like them to cut Richards this summer and let Miller/Lindberg have a shot to win that center position. AV has shown that he plays the hot hand game to game so I wouldn’t get so wrapped up in C1 C2 C3 designations. I would prefer an older, veteran C on a modest one year deal as a back up plan in case the kids aren’t up for the job. Maybe Saku Koivu or Jokinen on a one year deal or trade for a guy like Mike Fisher, a vet with one year left on their contract.

    – If you only kept one, who: Stralman or John Moore?

    Moore every day. Too much upside to let go. If Stralman wants that big payday I’d wish him goodbye and good luck and thank him for the solid three seasons he put in.

    – Are there any circumstances where you would keep Brad Richards beyond this summer?

    Nope. He’s got too little left in that tank. He has looked good the past two weeks but I feel he disappears for too many games in a row to justify that massive cap hit.

  9. paulronty says:

    So why can’t Richards play till he’s forty if he works out like he did this year? How old is Jagr? Guys are playing longer & longer now. I’m not on that bandwagon, Sorry. Staal is worth around 5 mil and I’d give Brass about 4. Moore over Stralman. If necessary, Richard can be moved to wing in his last couple years. Don’t want Stasny at all.

    • HARLEMBLUES says:

      Oh,Richards is also minus7.He’s only getting older and much slower.Did i mention he’s over paid.Cut the cord.

  10. Puck Luck @Centerman21 says:

    I’d listen to offers for Staal this summer. I doubt they can keep him. He’s a top pairing defenseman on 90% of the teams in the NHL. The question is what will other teams pay. I would absolutely listen on draft day to an offer for Staal.
    I would think Brassard gets a slight raise to his current deal. He’s been good this year. I think he likes it in NY and a guy that wants to be here is a keeper.
    3 years about 12 mil. $4 mil per. He’s an RFA so he’s got no rights. He’ll get screwed somehow.
    Trade Staal unless you can get him extended for as much or less than Mac. He has to be on that kind of deal. Make an offer that pays him until he’s about 30.
    I’d absolutely keep Moore over Strahlman. Especially if he turned down $3 mil per year this year.
    Now that MSL is on the team and there’s a good chance he came here to play with Ritchie again. It’s gonna be awkward buying Richards out. Have to think they’ve talked about it. Ritchie & MSL were at CBA talks. They know who the buyout candanates are.
    Sather may save some money by resigning Zuc now or before the playoffs. Before he and his agent get to see the market and he may get off to a good playoffs. Having an idea he’s wanted here. Pouliot too. Brassard is an RFA. Ranger property. Contract or not.