The Rangers must not overpay, should avoid free agency.

June 23, 2016, by
Photo: Bruce Bennett (Getty Images)

Photo: Bruce Bennett (Getty Images)

Ironically, Keith Yandle’s contract with the Florida Panthers is one I would consider reasonable. Too long? Sure. That’s free agency for you. Too much? Maybe slightly, but it’s not an ugly contract for a club, unlike the Rangers that has cap space and a young core, in the ascendancy.

With that all said, if the Rangers are going to show financial restraint (aka not signing Yandle et al) during the next few weeks then that is absolutely fine, they just need to be consistent and stick with it. Don’t throw good money after bad.

The next week or two will tell us if the Rangers are learning from previous mistakes (and the previous regime) or whether they are absent a concept. Most fans, bloggers, media types have no idea how Jeff Gorton is intending on addressing the immediate future and that is causing angst amongst an already angst-ridden fanbase.

The Rangers simply must not overpay in free agency. As a person very much in the ‘Sign Steven Stamkos’ camp I am slightly contradictory in that the Rangers need to show restraint. I just happen to believe a 27 year old 50 goal scorer is worth a significant investment, but I digress.

The Rangers will inevitably be linked with Milan Lucic and any other big name that hits the July 1st free agent frenzy. They must avoid that kind of bad contract. Stamkos is absolutely the only big name player worth pursuing.

Instead, Gorton must address the roster by showing he has inherited Glen Sather’s ability to make smart trades and move pieces from the roster that are no longer wanted or needed. Barring minor tweaks, Gorton should go nowhere near free agency – free agency is fool’s gold. Even more so now that the Yandle’s and Goligoski’s are off the market.

If the Rangers are going to force contention for next season it will end badly because this team is in transition, even when the core of this team is absolutely fine. The Rangers have enough about them that with a few smart moves there’s no reason they can’t contend next year. Key word being: smart.

The kind of ‘risky move’ the Rangers need to make is maybe investing a 3rd round pick in a player that’s fallen out of favour with his current team. TSN reports suggesting Edmonton’s much maligned, yet immensely talented winger Nail Yakupov being available for a mid round pick is exactly the kind of move the Rangers should be making.

With little risk attached (if the price of a 3rd round pick is to be believed), Yakupov could be a great addition. He could benefit from better teammates, a better structure and a winning culture as opposed to the mess he has been in, up in Edmonton.

In short, Jeff Gorton needs to be smart. (Mostly) avoid free agency, find potential bargains and be savvy with his moves. Nail Yakupov could be a good example. The Rangers have an opportunity to retool and still contend. It all depends on how much they’ve learnt from their recent past.

"The Rangers must not overpay, should avoid free agency.", 4 out of 5 based on 12 ratings.


  1. Spozo says:

    The “reasonable” part of Yandles contract likely comes from the lack of a state income tax in Florida

  2. Andy says:

    I agree with your premise here, but this statement:

    “Instead, Gorton must address the roster by showing he has inherited Glen Sather’s ability to make smart trades and move pieces from the roster that are no longer wanted or needed”

    Seriously? Stralhman? B. Boyle? D. Boyle? B. Richards? Hagelin? Callahan and 2 firsts for MSL when he wanted out of Tampa? Go a little further back and there is Gomez signing? (to be fair he turned him in to McDonaugh so forgiven) Redden? Bringing in Yandle for a lot because D. Boyle did not work out? Staal and Girardi’s contracts? good signing for McDonaugh and Brass..Zucc’s contract is good, but he relented because he wanted to be a Ranger. You can argue the bridge deals cost more in the long term too. So I m having a hard time understanding what ability you mean here. and hopefully he did not inherit much of what I am referencing above.

    • Chris A says:

      Wow, so after the best ten year run in franchise history, all you give Slats credit for is resigning Brass, McD, and Zucc? That’s some woefully ungrateful shite.

      • Andy says:

        it’s all different if they had won a cup…they did not…

        • Chris A says:

          Yeah, it doesn’t work like that. If it did, then there would be 29 coaching staffs and front offices looking for jobs every summer.

      • Sammy car says:

        Once again Chris is the guy that makes sense. There are so many other fans out there that would love to have what we’ve had. Of course we want a cup and we came very close to getting one. But people look to talk about what we don’t have and who sucks. They act like all of a sudden we’re a terrible team. Some of the comments I read are so ridiculous. A couple of moves on D and we can be really good. Won’t be easy but please just be realistic and show some patience

    • Pas44 says:

      I agree it seems like father did a banged up job, but this team was close and with a few different things happening, could have lifted the cup once if not twice …

      I think we are just seeing that WIN NOW push come to its end…

      its hard

      Its like telling a girl you wanna undress her to fast…

      if she is into it, your a HERO, if not, you got ZERO

    • Chin says:

      Why do people always look back at sathers deals as dumb? Callahan was due to be overpriced, Dan Boyle signed on a discount which couldn’t be argued with at the time, Brian Boyle was a 4th line scrub who left because he wanted to be a bigger player but ended up just being on the 4th line on a team that only plays 2 4th line guys, stralman got a deal off his playoff performance while the Rangers were the only ones to see his subpar 82 game performance, Brad Richards had to be bought out, and no one at the time argued hagelin leaving over the contract we couldn’t afford. Fans’ hindsight is not only 20/20 but skewed at remembering the facts at the time

      • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

        Some good points, but I have to nitpick your take on Stralman.

        He wasn’t subpar during the regular season, not even close. He was a catalyst on that team that went to the SCF. He was probably the best defenseman at transitioning the puck from the defensive zone through to the neutral zone.

        Tampa Bay is a smart organization and knew what they were getting with that guy. The deal is still a steal.

      • Walt says:

        Except your forgot the MSL, Staal, Yandle, Holik, Gomez, Lindros, Fluery, Quentel, and how many other moves that were made, with the same piss poor results !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        Sorry, Andy is right ……………………

        • Chris A says:

          But Walt, Holik, Lindros, Fleury, Quintal (not to mention, Dave Karpa, Rich Pilon, Tom Poti, etc.) were signed because the Rangers literally had no players in their farm system at the start of Sather’s time in NY. Neil Smith’s last 6 drafts were historically terrible.

          What other option did Sather have? He had no prospects and no roster players. Someone had to wear a Rangers Jersey. Most of those guys were signed before the salary cap, why not blow Dolan’s cash on aging veterans. It’s not as if they were blocking a bunch of kids from playing on the Rangers.

          • "The Original Rob" says:


            Most of those guys were signed over a DECADE ago!

            If you judge Slats FAIRLY, which should be post salary cap era. He’s done a very good job roughly 2 or 3 years after the salary cap was put into play.

            Please someone show me just ONE playoff team today, that has as many home grown players on their roster, as we do today? Please! Maybe I’m wrong and perhaps there actually are a couple teams out there that do.

            Maybe Pittsburgh..

            • Andy says:

              The Chicago core were all brought though their system Kane, Toews, Seabrook, Keith, Crawford, Kruger, Shaw…and LA…Kopitar, Doughty, Toffoli, King, Lewis, Martinez, Quick, Brown, Pearson…it’s about keeping the right guys…

              • Walt says:

                And both won multiple cups!

              • Chris A says:

                Look, if you want to blame Slats for anything, blame him for not convincing Jimmy Dolan that tanking in the early 2000s was the way to go.

                Chicago – Tanked from 99-07, 3 Cups

                LA – Tanked 03-09, 2 Cups

                Pitt – Tanked 02-06 (and got lucky winning a league wide special lottery in 2005 to draft Crosby), 2 Cups

                The last team to win a Cup without going into a full tank? Boston in 2011. Before that? Detroit in 2008.

            • Walt says:

              Please think this will you, after your remark that Sather had to sign all these guys because Smith did such a poor job.

              Sather has left us the same way as when he came into the organization, no draft picks, poor system, terrible contracts, and worst of all, NO DAMN CUP.

              Was it not Sather who said that if he had the Rangers money to work with, he’d win cups. Now cups to me means more than one, and he failed on all counts. So if we are to consider his entire body of work, Sather has been a dismal failure, sorry folks, that’s where I’m coming from.

              • Chris A says:

                Smith didn’t build a Cup Winner. He was able to conveniently move what was left of the Oilers dynasty via their Fire Sale to NY in bits and pieces.

                Leetch and Richter both predated Neil Smith.

                Neil Smith basically showed up in 1989, brought in a bunch of Oilers and the Rangers won a President’s Trophy (1992) then he added Mike Keenen and Steve Larmer and the team won a Cup (1994). After that, he didn’t do much of anything. He kept signing expensive veterans, Gretzky, Driver, MacLean, Verbeek; traded away the future of the organization, Nedved, Zubov, and Nordstrom; and didn’t win much of anything. Also, he pretty much whiffed on every draft pick from 1995 – 1999.

                Now, if you think the 2016 Rangers are in the same position they were when Slats arrived in 2000, you are being willfully blind. Currently, the Rangers have actual talent throughout their roster and talented kids that are getting ready for full time NHL roles. They also have one of the best players in the world that is not in the NHL (Buchnevich) joining the team this fall. This is a far cry from the doldrums of the late 90s through 2005 Rangers.

                I understand this team didn’t win a Cup, but hell, it’s been an amazing ride. Easily the best extended period of Rangers hockey in my lifetime (I was born in ’78).

              • paulronty says:

                I cried when they hired Glen Sather. Don’t forget his draft man was Maloney, the worst in history. He hired terrible coaches(Low, Trottier etc) and I give him credit for one thing–hiring Gordie Clark & Gorton to run the scouting dept–they made the Rangers a contender.

              • Walt says:


                I’m 70 in September, and I want another cup in my lifetime. If your OK with one every 76 years, well have at it because that’s what you’ll get with Sather running the show even from the background.

                The history of this franchise is get all the over the hill guys you can, the bigger the name, the better. We will fill the seats come hell, or high water, and get all kinds of money from their cable operation, so let’s fool the fans, make it look like we’re doing something, and that’s it.

                I won’t accept anything else from the Rangers than a cup, I’ve followed them since I was 9 years old, and it’s always the same old story, with fans being apologists for the team. Sorry my friend, he has been a disaster for the Rangers, and that idiot Dolan keeps him around. What can you expect from the owner, he has a great track record with the Knicks as well, doesn’t he ??????????

      • Andy says:

        Brian Boyle is a 4th line scrub? Pretty funny. Especially when you compare him with the replacement…Tanner Glass…B Boyle scored 15 goals in 14-15 season and 13 goals in 15-16 season…for the record he has 3 more career play off goals than Rick Nash..granted he has played in 35 more play off games…but a scrub…I think not…He also played all situations for Tampa…did I mention we got Tanner Glass on a 3 year deal, as a replacement, at a pretty stupid cap hit? But at the time someone else was going to give him that…we could have only hoped…That in and of itself is a WTF decision…on Stralman it’s unfortunate you did not recognize his contributions until the play offs…Maybe he should be blamed for us signing Staal to a long term deal since he actually made Staal look a lot better than he is when the 2 were paired together…D. Boyle was done in SJ…so let’s bring in a 38 year old to replace Stralman who was 27? in a hard cap environment with contract inflation? And yes D. Boyle took a discount, but we would have been far better to let the Isles pay more to have him in their fold. Agree we had to buy out Richards and Hagelin was not going to be able to be signed. The Yandle deal was a reset since D. Boyle did not work out. B. Boyle and Stralman out for T. Glass and D. Boyle in…were bad decisions now and they were bad decisions at the time….

  3. Section 121 says:

    Here’s something out of left field;

    Trade Henrik to Win for Trouba +
    Trade Staal to Det for Howard

    I think Hank is great and would love to keep him but I think recent history has shown that elite goaltending is not essential to winning the cup and we have too much cap tied up in this position handicapping our ability to build out a contending team with depth.

    This may not be popular or exactly the right mix to make it realistic but just trying to think outside the box because I think we need more than a few tweaks.

    • Pas44 says:

      whose our goalie then?

      Trade Hank for Flower with Hagelin.

      other moves too, but this one would work!


      • Section 121 says:

        Pas44, Howard would be

        Your flower idea is the same kind of thing although, Pitt isn’t in desperate need of steady goaltending as Zatkoff and Murray were able to provide stability for them

        I like where your head is at though

    • Alec says:

      Because s metrosexual with a NMC is going to want to up sticks to Winnipeg. /smh

    • Section 121 says:

      Here’s one:

      Hank to Arizona for Smith and Strome

      Or another:

      Hank to Carolina for Faulk and Ward

      Or another:

      Hank to Buffalo for Ristolainen and Moulson

      • Spozo says:

        So who puts together the PowerPoint presentation that shows Hank the reasons why he should waive his NTC to allow himself to be traded to Arizona or Carolina?

        • Section 121 says:

          Nice Spozo, it would be a tough sell but plenty of people retire to Arizona – it is lovey, nice dry heat

        • Pas44 says:

          The PPT should start off asking Hank if he really thinks he’ll lift the cup with his current organization…

          I am sure he wants too… so perhaps he will want to go.

          eventually everyone breaks… to lift the cup!

  4. kevshockey says:

    I’m going to miss Yandle’s high fives… dude was the best at them.

    I’m not so sure this contract is bad length or money wise. He’s an offensive style D man who takes very little punishment. If Dan Boyle a similar style player was producing 57-60 points a year up until 2012 with the Sharks where he took a steep decline in the lockout year to .58 pts/gm and then .48 a game in the last season as a Shark when he was turning 35 and 36.

    Yandle’s Contract may not look so bad. They may just have a bad year or 2. That’s assuming their bodies hold up in the same type of manner. Which is hard to fathom when we watch Girardi and Staal play and decline as quickly as they have.

  5. Johnny Red says:

    My friend no offence but Mr. Sather has more bad trades and signings then good. I would love to see an article from you giving Sather a lasing he deserves. All these GM’S are their own worst enemy, they sign guys to big money and no trades. Let them make all they can, but PLEASE stop with the no trade bull.

    In the era of the salary cap you can no longer keep all your star players, so it makes sense to trade them when they have a few good years left for younger cheaper players. We are stuck with Stall and Girardi because of no trade. In my opinion (which isn’t worth much) as long as Sather is around we have to be worried!

    • Walt says:

      That is exactly what Sam Pollock did with Montreal in the 60’s-70’s winning how many cups !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They won the cup, and then the following draft, they got the #1 over all, getting Guy Lafleur, now that was a hell of a GM !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • "The Original Rob" says:

      When StAAl and Girardi were re-upped, they were considered two of the finest premiere defensemen in the league. These were guys that were shutting down offensive threats like Crosby and Ovechkin night in, night out.

      I’m not saying that Slats should not have included a NMC, but I betcha over 90% of the other GM´s would have done the same thing, if they were in Slat´s shoes.

  6. amy says:

    Jeff time to get smart here there are pieces that need to be moved as you look at the signings like McD, Brass and Zucc but lets look we haven’t replaced the grit when we traded Dubi and the speed when Hagelin left and moving strahlman and boyle to tampa time to make good moves

    • Pas44 says:

      Definitely like the grit move, but AV doesn’t seem to want grit… except for Glass, but even he played this season without too much grit…

    • Pas44 says:

      Hagelin, I am happy he won a cup… remember when Torts said he SUCKED on the PP

      • Alec says:

        He DID suck on the PP.

        PK great, hard on the forecheck to capitalize on turn overs. Dump and chase so he breaks the shape of the D.

        Any scenario where his feet ain’t moving was bad news.

      • Spozo says:

        And he wasn’t put on the PP by AV, or in Anaheim or Pittsburg. So maybe Torts was right.

        • Pas44 says:

          Right, but saying it, like that, to the media.. come on, that was so bad to do… he is a young player…

          But thats Torts….

  7. SalMerc says:

    Getting back to the post here, I think Chris is correct. We need to take a year off from free agency, try to get our Cap number down, re-stock our farm a bit an cherry pick where we can. Will we be top of the division? – Kinda doubt it, but maybe we have some money and pick left at the deadline to make a move that actually propels us over the top. I love Milan Lucic and Stamkos, but maybe now is not the time to spend so freely.

    I also think Gorton needs to think about lines (even though AV plays everyone everywhere). Maybe a sniper on the Zucc line is needed. Maybe a speed guy with Kreider? Who knows? I do have faith that the backline will not be the 6 we now have.

    • "The Original Rob" says:


      I think you have a very very valid point!

      Also, I believe that in todays day and age, with advancements in sports nutrition and all the science, thought and regimen that goes into the physical aspects of these players, I don’t believe the shelf life on Hank is as short as most believe. I honestly feel that Hank can play another 8 years.

    • Chris A says:

      Agreed. This year’s free agent class is trash anyway. Better to sit this year out, try and move out some bad contracts and hope the kids develop enough to start carrying the team.

      Staal and Girardi (assuming neither gets dealt) as a third pair playing only 15-17 minutes a night might actually work. Of course, that would require Mcilrath and Skjei to develop into top 4 Ds this season.

      Other than that, with Yandle not coming back, the Rangers have more than enough cap space ($17M) to sign all their RFAs (Kreider, Miller, Hayes, McIlrath) and can still bring back Stalberg if they want while adding a 4C to cover for Lindberg while he recovers.

  8. Jkrew says:

    Can we please stay away from yakupov! He’s not going to be good for the team. We should be attempting to draft with our 3rd round. I would rather swing and miss in the draft than trade for another player who has failed to impress after 4 years in the league. “Change of scenery” or not he would only be a slight upgrade over the etem debacle from this past year.

    • SalMerc says:

      Hard to disagree with good logic

    • Egelstein says:

      I find it really hard to rate a player like Yakupov. Much of the team around him has been a dumpster fire in his time there, so I just don’t know what the exact cause for him missing expectations is; if it is really just him, or if he is a product of the team around him. I’m not really for or against making a run at him, but I think the rumored ask of a third rounder is a fair price. One curious thought that would normally never come up in such a scenario…his Russian origin might be helpful in acclimating Buch.

  9. Egelstein says:

    I agree with the points made in this piece. A lot of people like Lucic but I say stay away. The thin market is likely going to result in a massive overpay in money, term, or most likely both. (I also personally think his style just isn’t a good fit for our roster and AVs philosophy as well.) If you look at the HERO charts (can be constructed at http://ownthepuck.blogspot.com/), he’s really not that far ahead of Kreider despite managing to produce a lot more points the last three seasons. HERO also ranks them both as complete 2nd liners.

    Stamkos is so tempting…but with the types of pieces we would need to move to clear the space for him, I don’t see how we add him without making the move basically be lateral in terms of the overall effect. Maybe even a step back depending on who it is that gets shipped out to create that space. I sure would love a prototypical sniping 1C though, no doubt about that.

  10. paulronty says:

    Yandle got what he was going to get but for a player like him 7 years is ridiculous. You give that term to a superstar only, otherwise 5 years depending on age. As for Yakupov, I bet he’s like Zherdev, likes to score but could care less about defence. I love Eberle though & I felt that was the draft Clark fanned on, DZ was reported to have behavioural problems, even Lisa Ann said so.

  11. Leetchie Nut says:

    Cannot believe anyone would consider KY’s deal even remotely reasonable. That’s got Girardi-itis written all over it down the road, if not sooner. 7 years?! Are u kidding me?! Plus, the guy is simply not that good. Oh well, better them than us. Bravo to Gorton for not caving to any temptation to keep him nor to save face for what was given up to bring him here in the first place. Cutting ties and moving on was the best thing to do, no question.

    So as far as I’m concerned. Sather AND Gorton have already learned from their mistakes by letting Yandle fly south for the winter. As for NYR going forward, really the only names worthy of hearing about til Jul 1 are Nash, Stammer and Kirk. Anyone else involved will be surprising or disappointing in some way, IMO. We shall see….

    • Chris A says:

      Well, it’s reasonable for Florida because Brian Campbell was a Panther on pretty much the same contract. Not bad when you can make a cap neutral move that is a massive roster upgrade.

    • "The Original Rob" says:

      Remember though. Captain Kirks situation is almost identical to Yandles, whereas he’s going to be a UFA at the end of NEXT year.

      So, for arguments sake. You give up assets to aquire him in a trade, you may very well still lose him for only 1 year of work as a Ranger.

      • Chris A says:

        That’s why I wouldn’t give up anything more than Nash for Shattenkirk. And I would really hope something was coming back along with Shattenkirk.

  12. Craig says:

    Something to consider:
    I know how much we all love Hank, but would it be better to trade him right now?
    Realistically, are the Rangers really going to win the cup in the next two years?
    Do we really need to waste having Lundquest in net for the amount of money he makes and the state of the current team?
    At his age is he still the king, and if so, how much longer?
    Did he show any decline this past season?
    Couldn’t we get a number one draft choice and free us a good amount of cap space if we traded him?
    There are a few free agent goalies still available much cheaper, not to mention the goalie prospects within the organization. Maybe there is a Murray hidden somewhere in the mix