The Rangers signed their last two remaining RFAs yesterday inking Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes to contract extensions. Kreider received a long term deal (four years), while Hayes received the standard bridge deal, coming off his ELC. Both deals come with great cap hits for a team that is supposed to be cap strapped heading into the next few years. But here’s the thing: With this much cap space available, and everyone signed, why wouldn’t the Rangers look to at least lock up Miller to longer term? There are too many signs that something else is brewing.
1 – The Rangers have about $3 million in cap space –let’s call it that, as Brady Skjei and Pavel Buchnevich need to be added and Adam Clendening removed and assuming Tanner Glass is still here– which is very odd for this team. If no more moves are planned, I would have liked to see Hayes and J.T. Miller get longer term deals. I have no idea if they only wanted their short term deals though, with the chance to earn more. But this was a real opportunity to keep future costs down as well. Which brings me to point 2.
2 – According to our correspondents at Smashfest, Derick Brassard knew he was going to get traded since the draft. It’s basically known that the Sens kicked in the second round pick because the Rangers paid Brass’ bonus on July 15. The Rangers also bridged Miller way in advance of his arbitration hearing, but after knowing about the Brass trade. If there was nothing else on the docket, I trust –especially after this offseason so far– that Gorton would have at least locked up Miller to a longer term deal.
3 – Another sign that something is brewing: St. Louis GM Doug Armstrong was chatting about the core players for the Blues, and Kevin Shattenkirk’s name was completely left out (I don’t have the link to this, if someone could provide, it would be helpful). It’s no secret that the Rangers are looking to upgrade the blue line, even if they couldn’t keep Keith Yandle. Dan Girardi may not be going anywhere, but aside from him, not one name has been mentioned by anyone in the Rangers organization as expecting a bounce back year.
4 – Let’s remember that Kevin Klein is probably the best trade chip for the Rangers at this point. He has a team friendly deal. And at 31 (turning 32 in December), you have to wonder how long he can keep up his play. Remember that while he is lauded as being a great teammate, he wasn’t this productive in Nashville. Something seems to have worked out for Klein in New York, and he’s been a solid player. But even with his improved play, he’s on the wrong side of 30, and even his peripheral numbers aren’t all that great. An upgrade on the blue line doesn’t necessarily mean jettisoning Girardi or Staal. It could mean upgrading on Klein. Make no mistake, Shattenkirk > Klein.
5 – Staal’s name has been oddly absent from any media story this year. And that surprises me as well. It’s well known that Girardi is going to be with the team next year. But Staal has name brand value. There are still teams looking to make moves, and there are still teams that would value Staal. I wonder if the Rangers move both Staal and Klein before the season starts. That would be one heck of a shake up. That’s just me speculating though."Is there something else brewing for the Rangers?",