Jul
24

The Zuccarello and Kreider deals – mixed results for the Rangers

July 24, 2014, by
Kreider could be a league wide bargain next year - if he reaches his potential.

Kreider could be a league wide bargain next year – if he reaches his potential.

Everyone will be breathing a little easier now Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello are under contract for next season but the potential fallout of the two deals really is a mixed bag for the Rangers.

Chris Kreider

Assuming Alain Vigneault can continue to improve Kreider’s defense, Kreider’s contract should immediately become a bargain. The big, skilled forward has the potential to explode this coming season. He is now firmly established in the NHL, will have another camp under his belt, will be coming off a solid playoff season and will also want to prove that he was worth that $2.9 million he was demanding prior to agreeing with Glen Sather earlier this week.

Kreider is still all about potential and –while still slightly raw– he has 30-40 goal potential. Given his likely line mates (Stepan and Nash) and his talent, there’s no reason why he can’t hit 30 goals this coming season. In fact 30 is a number many fans will expect (albeit unfairly expect) from Kreider given his development over the past year. Twenty-One players scored 30 or more goals during the last regular season, and only Ryan Johansen of the Blue Jackets (33 goals, on his entry level contract) earned less than $3 million.

For the next two years Kreider should be a bargain, but it doesn’t bear thinking about how expensive he will be after that, should everything go according to plan. For now, Kreider’s deal is a great result for the Rangers. Given the state of the forward unit (an aging St Louis, Nash’s uncertain future and the contract uncertainty up front – Hagelin, Zuccarello, Stepan) Kreider could quickly develop into an offensive leader. No real negatives can be drawn from the Kreider deal at this stage.

Mats Zuccarello

It’s Zuccarello’s situation that provides more concern for the Rangers. Yes, he has shown tremendous desire to be a Ranger to this point, yes both sides continue to work on a longer term deal and yes, Zuccarello earned his raise. That said, with little bargaining power, Zuccarello more than tripled his salary without having to sign up to any significant term and has the chance to absolutely cash in next summer – perhaps to the point where he cannot be retained by the Rangers.

Think of some of the recent contracts thrown around the NHL. Then imagine if Zuccarello merely matches his output from the ’13/14 season and heads into free agency on the back of consecutive 50-60 point regular seasons, a solid playoff career to date, and all that at 27 years of age. He would easily command around $6 million and 6 years on the open market. Those numbers would surely be too much for the Rangers to embrace.

If you’re Zuccarello and you approach January (when he would be able to sign an extension with the Rangers) what motivation would you have to sign up to a new deal before hearing what the rest of the league can offer just a few months later?

Loyalty only goes so far. We saw from Ryan Callahan that differences over money and term can split up even the best marriages. Zuccarello has less ties to the Rangers than Callahan ever had. For the short term, although a big raise, Zuccarello is a relative bargain – even at $3.5 million – and all Ranger fans hope he continues his ascension to becoming a key Ranger. But assuming he does, the likelihood of a long term tenure in New York becomes less likely. A double edged sword if ever there was one.

31 comments

  1. MegaMma4life says:

    Zucc has stated for the past three years the only nhl team he wants to play for is the nyr if he can’t play here he said he’s going back to Russia. Don’t worry about Zucc

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      Do you really believe that? You’re setting yourself up for disapointment if you think that’s the only way this situation plays out.

      The only player I can ever remember giving up loads of money to play in Russia was Ilya Kovalchuk, and that’s only after he already made a ton of American green.

      No, money talks, and Zucc isn’t passing on a goldmine from another team to go back to Russia.

      The best case scenario here is that he re-ups with the Rangers after January and skips the open market.

      • Puck Luck @Centerman21 says:

        That would be the best case but the KHL pays big money as well. Just like in MLB where the next hyped up Japanese pitcher gets $100 million contract. A successful NHL player coming to play in Russia. There would be teams lining with check books in hand. The KHL has become more competitive. Still 2nd best but they pay the same. They’re all around Europe It’s closer to his home in Oslo. He could go back there anytime he wants.

    • Evan M says:

      Zucc isn’t Russian. He’s Norwegian and was playing in Sweden last.

    • Puck Luck @Centerman21 says:

      You sure have that right. He stated a few times that he wants the big stage in this city. He’s been around the league now so he knows every city. None are like NY or can they compete with it. LA is next on the list to me as far as cities go. Toronto is the only team worth more than the Rangers if I’m not mistaken. Forbes Magazine has them in at 3/4 of a billion $

      Kreider had to take the contract he got. Stepan played his entire ELC and put up better numbers every year. He got screwed a bit on the arbitration but Kreider can’t come in at or near his deal. He only just stayed his first full year in the NHL. No reason for Sather to have paid him a dollar more based on experience. Giving kids big contracts based upon potential is bad business and it’s why the Oilers are bottom feeders every year. It’s rule number one in the General Managers Handbook. There is a handbook? Right Mr Snow

  2. paulronty says:

    Equating Zucc with Callahan isn’t even close. Zucc will get his money and he’ll do what’s right for the team too. This guy is a breath of fresh air.

    • Bort says:

      That would certainly be nice. But you’re counting on someone passing up millions of dollars for the privilege to deal with Glen Sather for the rest of their professional life…
      It’s possible he’ll be a lifetime Ranger on the cheap, but I wouldn’t be surprised (or blame him) for a falling out in the future.

      • Ray says:

        It isn’t just about loyalty. The salary cap is real. Every dollar a player takes is one less dollar that go to his teammates. It is worth taking less money to have a better chance to win the Cup.

        The reservations. Will Sather use the extra money wisely? Are my teammates as committed as I am or will they go for every penny?

  3. Ray says:

    I think you are wrong on two points. First, why can’t the Rangers give Zuke a 6-6 contract. They offerd something like that to Callahan, a player who could never dream of rising to the level Zuccarello has already achieved.

    Second, there is no reason to see Zuke as less tied to the Rangers than Callahan. The fact is that Zuccarello has had leverage in the past and did not use it. When he went to Russia, he could have said that he wanted to play in the NHL for another team and that his ties with the Rangers were done. Sather likely would have traded his rights for a draft choice. Instead, he waited patiently for his chance to come again. While Callahan’s playing style and general conduct suggested lifelong Ranger, none of his actions supported this.

    Also, Callahan is an American while Zuccarello is a Norwegian. It may be to the latter that which American city one lives in is more important.

  4. Chris says:

    I think zuke will resign too, but people who think he’ll definitely do so because he likes one franchise or isn’t in it for the money are incredibly naive. It’s a business. No one would give up millions. And depending on what Stepan, hagelin, Staal, St Louis(?) and guys such as talbot get, will massively impact the team’s ability to pay zuke.

    • Ray says:

      It’s not just a business. Serious question, what does a player choose between:

      Option 1 – career earnings $10M, name on Cup once

      Option 2 – career earnings $75M, name on Cup never

      No actual decision can guarantee a Cup victory, but it does make sense to base your decisions on what you want.

      • mikeyyy says:

        I’ll take the 10 mil and my name on the cup.

        Then I can retire, invest wisely and live life comfortably.

        The guy who made 75 mil will never raise the cup, and will have spent most of his life trying to get it but never quite have it. Ala Ken Dryden.

      • scrangersfan says:

        I’m a huge hockey fan but given a chance to earn 10 million and have my name on the Stanley cup or earn 75 million and no Cup is a no brainer. IMO. given that choice, 99 percent of the people would opt for the 75 million and as much I like hockey, I would be in the 99 percent who’d take the money.

        • Ray says:

          surely not 99 percent. Ten million is enough money for a lifetime and after that it is just dreams. yes, you can realize a few dreams with the extra money and yes some players would definitely choose that option, maybe even most (I don’t know). But surely there are more than ten players who would choose the Cup.

      • MBN says:

        Ray;

        You are missing 1 very important point here:

        The Rangers will not be out-bid by a 7 to 1 ratio. They will offer Zucc a contract the will be a lot closer to what his max is from someone else.

        Basically, you are saying that Zucc will get an offer from some other team of $35 million over 5 years ($7 million per), and the Rangers will counter with $5 million over 5 years ($1 million per.

        Not happening.

        • Ray says:

          My question was really meant to be hypothetical and an illustration. The premise of many is that all players care about at contract time is money and my point is that other things matter a lot to some players.

          My listed options are extreme. There will never be a 7 to 1 money disparity, nor will there ever be a clear cut choice between winning the Cup and not winning it.

  5. mikeyyy says:

    Law of supply and demand. Supply is low demand is high price goes up.

    Fair value. If he earns it move some people to make room.

    I think zucc and kreids are ready to tear it up this year.

    Even if he’s moved I get to see them both in ranger blue.

    The odd man out here is brassard.

  6. Section 121 says:

    Zucc is the reason for the success of the Brass line last year and he was our leading scorer. I would say he is already a “key” Ranger, the best Ranger forward for sure.

    I can’t believe Nash scores less than 40 pts. no matter who he is playing with or what side and gets a pass when we’re paying him close to $8m. Zucc was the catalyst for ever line/teammate he played with this year. That’s something the highest paid skater should be able to do. $3.5m is a bargain and I would rather pay a guy like Zucc $6m than Nash $7.8m.

  7. Frank Cerbone says:

    Stralman, Pouliot, & Boyle, ALL UNDER 30, CHOSE TO LEAVE SATHER.

    Sather resigned Dom Moore 34 was resigned.

    Do you really think Sather will resign youner players like Talbot,Staal, Zuccarello?

    Nope, Sather will resign 70 yr old St Louis, maybe 32 yr old Stepniak

    Would really like to see Sather try to justify resigning St Louis after St Louis cost us Callahan & two #1 picks.

    What do you think? Resigning St Louis after he scores 15 goals next year for Rangers at cost of
    losing any one of Talbot, Zuccarello, or Staal?

    Insanity

  8. pavel_burrito says:

    I particularly like that it was St. Louis that cost us Callahan, not Callahan’s greed.

  9. FrankCerbone says:

    Let’s see now. For the last couple of
    years I have been saying that the Sather/
    Clark tandem absolutely stinks at developing/
    drafting young prospects. I have been follow-
    ing hockey since the early 1960s.

    I get a lot of critics that say that Sather
    knows what he is doing. But people forget
    Sather was fired from Edmonton because over the last 10 years he was with Edmonton his #1 picks
    amounted to just Arnot & Beukeboom.

    This year The Hockey News & The Sporting News
    came on board and agreed with my assessment of
    the Ranger minor league talent.

    So I guess The Hockey News & The Sporting News
    are insane publications as well.

    Who knows what wisdom lies within my madness.

    When this house of cards collapses, it will be
    interesting what people will say.

    Wasn’t Frankie C the guy who said why are we signing a guy just out of drug rehab to a 3 year
    contract. And I was THE ONLY ONE SAYING THAT.
    Or why is that same player’s brother Aaron standing at the podium to announce the Ranger’s draft pick at the NHL Draft? Isn’t he being charged with tampering/destruction of evidence (found guilty)?

    And what about the rules of this website?
    Keep it civil.

    If you disagree with a person, you call him
    mentally disturbed, insane?

    • Dave says:

      Consider this your first and last warning: You got banned from Blueshirt Banter for your idiotic comments on Boogaard. That will not be tolerated here.

    • MITCH K says:

      Possibly the biggest Sather blunder seems to fly under the radar. When he dealt for St Louis he needed to send 2 #1 picks to compensate for Callahan’s impending free agency. Why did he not have a clause that IF Callahan resigned with the Lightning they would only receive 1 #1 pick? Gross stupidity.

      • mattimar says:

        Doubt it was stupidity. More like he thought he had no choice. Sather is a bit arrogant but not stupid. However, the Rangers have not been too smart with 1st round picks and nonetheless i agree they should have made it a #1 and something else (like a 2 or 3). We shall see how St Louis plays and judge from there. Lets hope for 25 goals and 30+ assists at least.

      • Dave says:

        The clause was that when Cally re-signed (note the hyphen), the Rangers got a 2nd round pick.