Rangers benefiting from good value contracts

March 14, 2016, by
Zuccarello's contract stands up to almost any other league wide

Zuccarello’s contract stands up to almost any other league wide

Give good players time and you will be rewarded. Mats Zuccarello had to fight off traditional hockey stereotypes, climb up the Rangers cluttered depth chart and fight his way into a prominent position over a long period of time but Zuccarello eventually became one of the Rangers most reliable and cost effective players. Zuccarello’s contract is looking better every game and it’s worth looking into the value again because right now, there are few better value deals around the league.

Zuccarello is likely going to lead the Rangers in scoring for the second time in three years by season’s end. Over the past three years (going on numbers after the loss to the Red Wings) Zuccarello is averaging around 54 points per season and this is with 14 games of the current season to go.

Zuccarello is of course, in the first year of his new deal that pays him 4.5m per season. Prior to this season Zuccarello had bagged 142 points in 222 regular season games for an average of .63 points/game. This season he’s scoring at a .77 clip; a pretty significant increase.

Zuke’s production is costing the Rangers around $85k per point. Some league wide insight; some of the very best players in the game cost their teams significant more. Patrick Kane is costing the Hawks 118k per point, Alex Ovechkin ‘costs’ the Caps 154k per point while Anze Kopitar is costing the Kings around 115k per point.

Kopitar’s cost (or value) will sky rocket once his new deal kicks in – call it the price of doing business in today’s NHL. No one is comparing Zuke to these world class players and of course, production isn’t based purely on “value for money” but Zuccarello’s value to the Rangers does reflect favourably all over the league when looking at other leading offensive producers.

Zuccarello currently sits a respectable tied 30th in league scoring (at time of writing). Being far too lazy to provide the actual numbers for the 29 (or so) players ‘ahead’ of Zuke, almost every player ahead of him has a bigger contract. At 27, Zuccarello is in his prime and offer the Rangers exceptional value, not bad for a kid from Norway considered too small for the league.

For a team that has looming cap issues and needs to spend every cent wisely, the Rangers have a handful of contracts that represent great value, none more so of course than Zuke and captain Ryan McDonagh. One player that almost always gets forgotten about however is Jesper Fast.

‘Quickie’ has been a loyal foot soldier, playing up and down the line up and handling solid minutes (around fifteen/game). Going almost unnoticed is the fact that Fast is flirting with a 30 point season (currently on 24) all the while costing the Rangers just 950k against the cap charge. He’s on tap for an actual salary of $1m next season.

Fast is another player where the Rangers have been rewarded for their patience. Three full years in the Swedish league, the vast majority of another in the AHL with Hartford; it’s almost six years (already) since the Rangers drafted Fast. While he may never become a consistent top six winger, every team need players like Fast who can play both ends of the rink and can chip in offense from the bottom half of the line-up.

The Rangers are likely in no rush to lock up Fast but if the team can retain Fast on a sensible deal after his bridge deal expires in a year’s time, then they will truly have another bargain depth player the type of which are the hallmark of most successful franchises.

It’s the depth players such as Fast and Oscar Lindberg (and, for the time being JT Miller and his 874k cap charge) that teams need to come to the fore in the cap era. Lindberg is costing the Rangers an almost ridiculously cheap $25k per point this season and if he can average ‘just’ 30 points per season over the course of his two year deal then the Rangers will receive exceptional value for money from Lindberg. Now, about Dan Girardi and Marc Staal’s contracts…


"Rangers benefiting from good value contracts", 5 out of 5 based on 2 ratings.


  1. joe K says:

    Contract problems are with every team. Again we have no idea what the cap is going to be for next year. You should look at it as we cannot sign everyone, an be prepared for the worst in some cases. I think Fast has done a great job of replacing Hagelin, an much cheaper.

  2. amy says:

    Jesper has played well as well as zucc have a good roadtrip see you next Monday don’t forget the sunscreen

  3. SalMerc says:

    We need about 8 good (read – good value) contracts to make up for Girardi, Boyle & Stall)

  4. Dave says:

    They really need these good deals, like the ones for McDonagh, Brass, and Zucc, to make up for the horrible ones given to Staal/Girardi.

    • BOBBY B says:

      Right on Dave, Understatement of the year, Staal, Girardi & Boyle have bad contracts..

      • Jon says:

        Boyle hasn’t been all that bad overall. I was hoping he would provide a little more on the PP but he has always stepped up his game in the playoffs. He’s healthy this season and I expect a good post season from him.

  5. Chuck A. says:

    Question: who do you think is best in the league at this strategy?

    My qualitative observation would be Chicago – though they have two hefty contracts, they continue to assemble players that this article exemplifies.

    • Spozo says:

      Chicago has benefitted from some contracts that if they were signed today, would be considered cap circumvention by the league. They signed a couple 10+ year contracts before New Jersey made history with the Kovy contract that made the NHL crack down on those types of deals.

      • Chris A says:

        Chicago is going to have problems when Kane and Toews turn into 50 point players in four years and are carrying cap hits north of $10M.

        Also, great point about that Hossa contract. That really set them up for a lot of the success they are currently enjoying. Hossa’s now illegal contract basically gave Chicago $3M annually in extra cap space over the rest of the league. It’s not really surprising they have won 3 of the last 7 Cups when you consider that little nugget.

  6. Jon says:

    Girardi and Staal are costing the Rangers $115 and $145k per turnover and $200K per game tying goal in the final 2:00 mins of the game. These are both fairly average contracts considering they both play top 4 mins.

    Looks like both are still playing hurt. That goal the Pens scored where Hayes lost his man. Marc Staal went the same speed as Boyle. Both of them looked like they were wearing metal cleats instead of skates. That kid is fast but come on man. Staal has to be hurt but I don’t understand why he’s in the lineup. Girardi I can understand a little for his righty stick but what does Staal bring that Skjei cannot? It isn’t skating.

  7. Jon says:

    I actually think the Rangers need more from some of their valuable contracts. Zuc has been great but Lindberg has fallen off a cliff after he got to 10 goals. Hayes point totals don’t quite show how he’s played this season. He doesn’t just take a shift or a game off. He disappears for weeks at a time before a good game or 2 makes you think he may come around. Kreider hasn’t had the kind of season we all had hoped. Maybe he wanted a breakout season as well and set the bar a little high.