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Arbitration Musts

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Arbitration begins in a week in Toronto, with the Rangers visiting our neighbors up North for three key forwards. So how important will it be to sign each of Derick Brassard, Mats Zuccarello, and Chris Kreider? To put it mildly, the 2014-15 season depends on it.

The importance of the third line last year has been talked about ad nauseum, but for good reason. The most productive line last year is in jeopardy of becoming complete history, with Benoit Pouliot signing an enormous deal in Edmonton two weeks ago. Both Zuccarello and Brassard are restricted free agents, going unrestricted next year, so the likelihood of arbitration going well is high; however, what happens if they follow in Derek Stepan’s footsteps from last year? How important is it that these players don’t miss camp?

It’s been well documented that Zuccarello is looking for a serious pay raise. The Norwegian winger played impressively last year, but it’s important to note Glen Sather’s comments regarding Zucc and Kreider. Zuccarello was arguably the best player on the team last year, but it was his only really impressive year. Zucc isn’t a baby; at 26, his breakout year is promising, but not indicative that he will be this good for a consistent time period. Furthermore, the team should not be leaning on a third line winger for the majority of their points. Maybe it was a Cinderella year for Zuccarello, but it certainly should not become the norm.

Zucc is looking for a pay raise to the $4M range, which, if he gets I’m pretty sure we’ll all be ice skating home since hell will have frozen over. Sather doesn’t have that kind of leeway, nor will he have the patience or desire. The recent extension signed by Brandon Dubinsky in Columbus, however, won’t help managements case. Dubi signed an extension for 6 years/$35.1M, a $5.85M AAV. He is their de facto leader, but as a Ranger never amounted to a whole lot; this is scary since it could act as a backup plan for players who are looking for a larger role on a team.

With such a short free agent class this offseason, it’s obvious that the Rangers will have to lock up their restricted free agents, and hopefully for more than a year. Signing these three will put a reality check on many of the fans who are currently losing their heads over the not-so-dramatic losses that were incurred on July 1.

"Arbitration Musts", 5 out of 5 based on 3 ratings.

10 Responses to “Arbitration Musts”

  1. supermaz says:

    Zuccarello should get $6 million for 5 years. Has earned every penny and is well worth it. 2nd most valuable player on the team after McDonagh.

  2. Ray says:

    None of this trio will hold out. Stepan held out because he did not have a contract and did not like what Sather was offering. The only possibility like that this year is John Moore. Zuke, Brassard, Kreider filed for arbitration. Either they will sign or there will be an arbitration award. The Rangers can walk away if the award exceeds $3.5 million as it will with Brassard and perhaps Zuke, but if the Rangers do walk away, the player(s) will be gone, not holdouts.

    The big story is really preventing them from being UFA’s next summer. WE got to sees what that means this year.

  3. mr.mister says:

    Why are everybody afraid of zucca not being as good as last year?
    And talking about him being a third line forward?
    Hey, that line was by far the best on the team this year and the real first line!!
    See what other teams pay players with less impressive numbers. About the same time last year I said ” give him a contract, he’ll show everybody his worth it!”
    Take 2 million from Nash salary!!
    Give Zucc 4 for 5 yrs, he’s worth it!!

  4. mikeyyy says:

    Hmmm. Maybe the cap and rising talent will force a rebuild, based on the fact its worse to lose 3 promising talents for the pay of two aging and less than inspiring high paid talent.

    Trade msl and Nash. Get the pieces we need to build. Or at least one of them. I’m leaning to Rick Nash. As he has become not lived up to standards. He can’t shoot, can’t pass, can’t stay up after a hit. Yes he did play better down the stretch but his playoffs were horrid.

    Or look at moving one of our D. Girardi comes to mind.

    Its nit that I don’t like them. G has been a ranger forever and I love his play. Nash still gets me on my feet when he gets the puck.

    But its a business and there is a cap, and quality depth is hard to find, as we found when we traded ours.

    Drop one keep 3 and fill the cupboard or fill a need in depth

    Kreider step msl
    Hags brass zucc

    That’s a decent top 6

  5. SalMerc says:

    I think we make sure we sign Zucc & Kreider to longer tern deals and negotiate real hard with Brassard. If Brass goes FA next year, so be it.

    • TxRanger says:

      I’m on board with you. While Brassard has played well here, he is a replaceable commodity. On the other hand, we must keep Kreider long term and got to lock up Zucc for a few years.