Retaining Brendan Smith is Key

May 14, 2017, by
Brendan smith

Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

As we reflect on the 2016-17 Rangers season, and unfortunately short postseason, one thing that ought to be clear is that this team’s defense simply isn’t good enough as currently constructed. The Rangers are obviously going to have to do something about Dan Girardi and Marc Staal, may make a serious push for Kevin Shattenkirk, and will most certainly have to give Brady Skjei the bigger role he deserves on this blueline. One other thing became abundantly clear this postseason, and it goes hand in hand with my last point: the Rangers must re-sign Brendan Smith.

This past playoff run, Smith showed that he is absolutely indispensable on the back end alongside Skjei, with his savvy play allowing the youngster to take more liberties and let his offensive potential shine. Their chemistry was plainly evident, and they would make a solid second pairing together.

Assuming the Rangers either acquire Shattenkirk or some other top pairing defenseman to play alongside Ryan McDonagh via trade, that means a top four of McD, Shattenkirk (or whoever), Smith, and Skjei. That’s a pretty solid top two pairings, and you’d sure be able to lean on them heavily to play big minutes.

Statistically, Smith is not going to blow you away, with his relCF% for the past season being only 2.06 and his relxGF% being only 0.66. It is worth keeping in mind however that he played most of the season on a less than stellar Detroit Red Wings team, which likely didn’t do a lot to help those numbers.

Certainly alongside Skjei and behind a revamped top pair, those numbers would also go up. They’re also not terrible numbers; 2.06% better than your team mates over the course of a season is pretty solid, ditto for 0.66% in terms of quality of scoring chances. Basically what that indicates is that you can expect the rest of the team to be at least somewhat better than any given opponent when he’s on the ice. With a solid partner and the kind of depth the rest of this team has (and Detroit simply didn’t) I would be shocked if those numbers didn’t improve.

Aside from his defensive prowess, another reason the Rangers must re-sign Smith is the price they paid to acquire him. A second and third round pick is just too much to pay for only a few months of someone as good as Smith. If the Rangers are serious about changing their ways as far as mortgaging their future goes they’d better not let him going without at least attempting to sign him.

I’d imagine, based on his breakup day comments that he’s happy in New York and sees the team as a legitimate contender, which means the Rangers shouldn’t have too much difficulty bringing him back next year. The big question then becomes at what price.

Given that he’s currently coming off a two-year deal that carries a $2.75m cap hit, he’s probably going to want both a longer term deal and a raise. That might be tricky for the Rangers, but given the way he proved himself since his acquisition, and given the aforementioned price they paid to acquire him, I would imagine management makes some effort to meet him half way. He’s 28 already, and will likely want a deal with a lot of years on it, but if the Rangers are smart they’ll keep it around four years.

The more difficult aspect will be the cap hit, because the Rangers are most likely going to be buying out either Girardi or Staal, and maybe even both (although that seems rather unlikely). This’ll leave the Rangers with some dead cap space, and since they’ve also got some other contracts to work out, most notably the Mika Zibanejad extension, and perhaps a run at Kevin Shattenkirk, money will be tight.

Hopefully the Rangers can get something done around the $4 million mark, although a little bit more wouldn’t be devastating (a little bit less would be most ideal). They can also always offer him more years for less money as a way of making the salary cap calculations work, and then figure out what to do in the latter years of the contract when they come to it. One way or another though, I think the two camps can work something out.

In the end, whatever defensive retooling takes place this summer ought to include a place for Smith. He’s earned it. His chemistry alongside Brady Skjei is palpable, and if the Rangers find a suitable partner for Ryan McDonagh, he’d fill out the top two pairings nicely and give them the kind of blueline that could make it deep into the postseason. My ideal contract for him would be 4×4, but we’ll see what magic Gorton ends up working.


"Retaining Brendan Smith is Key", 5 out of 5 based on 15 ratings.
Categories : Players


  1. Jerry says:

    Thank you Pat.
    I personally don’t think Shattenkirk is a first pair D-man. I watched as much of the Caps/Pens series as possible, and what I saw only re enforces my feelings. That said, if we can sign him for REASONABLE terms I’m ok with it.
    Not that my opinions matters, as Gorton didn’t ask me what I thought *S*.
    As for Smith, this Ranger teams NEEDS him. I have repeatedly said in my posts to Gorton…….
    “Note to Jeff, find a way to protect Lindberg and Fast, and sign Smith”..
    Again, Gorton doesn’t even know I’m alive.
    I do hope Gorton learned from Sather’s mistakes. NO ‘no move clauses’, only reasonable contract lengths for make sense money.
    And then if they do resign Smith, ask AV to try and not “lose him on the bench”.

  2. joe cafardo says:

    I am not on the Shatty Love Boat. I do think Smith needs to be signed and I could not agree more with Brooks about some “A” personality being added since AV is not leaving and he is somewhat a flatliner when it comes to inspiring ( and coaching) a playoff team. Thinking more about it and watching Ottawa last night….they are great at blocking shots. Karlsson is so selfless….and has mastered the art of placing his shin pads in front of shots, deadening pucks, and peeling away on the counterattack. In our series we simply had not in game adjustment to that. The Rangers should have kept the cycle going down low and looked for openings below the circles. Instead, our forwards used their points when they skated pucks out of the corners in the offensive zone. The Senators were happy to see this happen. They filled lanes, stepped in front of pucks, and turned potentially dangerous cycles into non-events. They did this last night as well. Only McDonagh is skilled enough with the puck to change approach vectors by walking the blue line or adjusting his release. I think it AGAIN exposes Alain Vigneault as a stubborn mule who not only took the hot player off ice among other coaching brainfarts but he never adjusted his game plan to account for the Senators’ shot-blocking habits. I wonder who sits with him and forces him to replay his coaching and how he justifies in game adjustments or none; his use of personnel at key stages; his horrible special teams play. Gorton can go get Karllson, Vlasic Doughty or who ever…but this coaching has GOT to improve.

    • Jerry says:

      Well said Joe, but your comment that AV’s coaching is less than inspiring, is a gross understatement.
      Sakjei, also has the ability to change shooting angles. As he gains more experience and confidence, I think we’ll see more and more of it.

  3. Walt says:

    Smith has said that he would like to be a member of this team next season, great. He should be signed for a reasonable amount, and term, but no more NMC, unless we get a superstar, and that ain’t happening any time soon.

    As for Shatty, I’m with Jerry above, and have stated on many occasions, the guy is over rated, and he will make too many demands of this team. I read that whatever team he goes to, he wants to be a top pair guy, gee I thought you had to earn that, but then again, what do I know? He would bring something to the table, PP QB, but on the defensive side, ?????, not sure there, may give up as much as we gain from the PP side of the house.

    I suspect that Gorton has a plan, will rid us of at least one, if not both Staal, and Girard, and get some decent defensive help. We need a good skating, puck lugging capable man, who is willing to work the boards, clear the crease, and play some sound shut down time when called upon to do so. These guys are hard to find, but at this stage of the game, anything that can skate with any speed would be an improvement to what we have!!!!!

    • paulronty says:

      Signing a guy for big money who is a PP specialist but can’t defend is a losing strategy. Look for the Wings to go for Shattenkirk as they need D-men badly & are likely to give him first pair status & the money. If the Rangers couldn’t give Yandle big money, how can they give it to Shattenkirk? There is no quick fix for the Rangers D that does not involve trading away Kreider, Miller etc., which to me is a move I don’t make. The Rangers problem is that they have signed numerous free agent D or drafted them & failed to develop them, like Zaborsky, Andersson etc. And the only useful D in Hartford is Graves & something tells me he is not AVs kind of D-man either. It’s a mess. Buying out G & S would put the team in Cap hell. It really is time to forget about the “window” and start to focus on player development by playing guys like Graves & living through the developmental mistakes and maybe falling back a few places. Thinking guys like Bereglazov & Pionk can step right in, is nothing short of ludicrous. Girardi can be traded, so do it IF you can for draft picks even. Smith I like but I’m not giving him more than a three year contract & not more than 4 mil, which is even high. Trading Stepan for a steady D-man would be a good move & maybe get draft picks too. If the Rangers are going free agent they should consider Karl Alzner over both Shatty & Smith. He’s younger and a good defender. Gorton needs to take decisive action, he’s more on the spot now than he was last year. First step is to get a new coach.

      • Stevesse says:

        I agree with you. About Alzner, but he might cost too much. Doesn’t he play the left side? I also think Girardi has aNMC. He is the cheaper of the 2 cap hits although Staal seems to be the poorer player. I think if you can trade Stepan, perhaps to Minny, we could get a quality Dman and some cap space. Anyone you could get for him would be a bonus.


        ” First step is to get a new coach.”

        that’s been the first step for a year or so now….

        Also, you guys are gonna miss stepoff when he’s gone (barring unforeseen grand larceny).

        Yeah, he doesn’t bring anything that isn’t redundant on the team, but if you think 2 way centermen who put up 50+ pts a year grow on trees………. Shit, even Bergeron only had 53 pts this year for BOS.

        • Ray says:

          Basic point people miss. It is hard to win a Cup if your best center is the 20th or 25th best center in the league. However, there are 120 centers and #20 or 25 is pretty good. Upgrading is hard and discarding is absurd.

          Gorton’s hope, I suspect, is or was that Zbad would emerge as that really top center and Step would be a great #2.

        • Walt says:


          You really can’t compare Daisy to Bergeron, who in my opinion is great both ways!!!!!!!! Also he is a leader, where Daisy is for crap, has no leadership qualities at all………..

      • Peter says:

        Agreed Paul, focusing on the future and player development is the way to go. Bring up Graves no matter what and get him in the lineup. Let him learn next year like Skjei learned thus past season. Re-sign Smith. Let Staal go, and Klein, and find another good young defender. I would pass on Shatty too.


          To be fair, with Klein, I feel like an underappreciated reason for his sudden departure from competence has been due to the lingering back issues he’s suffered from.

          • Walt says:

            agree, and of the three, Kevin is the guy who brings the most to the table……….that isn’t saying much, but the twins are history, and have been for a few years already!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Walt says:


        Your the man !!!!!!!!!!

      • Dr.1994 says:

        Thinking that we can trade Girardi is ludicrous. Graves needs to be brought up. Big (100 MPH) slap shot and with real size might be nice to have but I guess he is not a veteran so why bother. I mean it is not like the NHL is going young or anything…

        • Chris F says:

          Rangers are the 8th youngest team in the League. If the Rangers aren’t yet ready to call up Graves, age isn’t a factor. He’ll come up when the Rangers coaching and management staff, and the Hartford staff who works with him every day, feels he’s ready.

          But what do they know, right? I mean you like his game so obviously it’s a mistake not to bring him up right now.

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            Exactly right Chris. Skjei has a great year. Good beginnings for Vesey and Buch before he got hurt. But why should Dr. 1994 deal with reality when the same old tired and inaccurate narrative about not playing younger players works better to support a flawed argument.


      That’s the thing – he’s probably not worth the contract (only real plus is the fact he’s a RHD).

      However….. if signing him (or whoever) forces management to come up with a creative solution to fix the blueline….. then I’m all for it.

      I’d rather not dig up the numbers, but it’s a terribly kept secret on the internet that 5 & 18 cannot play anymore, especially not in a system that requires them to move pucks quickly.

      Also, not resigning Smith would also be a real Rangers move. Guy was the third best D we had.

    • JoeS. says:

      OK Walt, I agree on Shattenkirk completely, but what you so conveniently glossed over in your own assessment was that Smith wants to play for this team. HMMM, why would that be??? Is it possible he thinks AV is a good coach to play for???? Sacre Bleu!!!! (I am in Paris) How can that be??? Someone please tell me how any player would want to play for such an idiot? I just don’t understand. I guess I just don’t know hockey…

      • paulronty says:

        C’mon, Yandle said all the same things, what do you expect them to say? In the end, they go where the money is. Playing for that idiot AV is OK when you get lots of money to do it.

      • Walt says:


        How about he likes NYC. Anyone would love NYC over Detroit don’t you think?????

        How about he plays well with Skjei?

        How about he likes playing with an old college team mate?

        How about he thinks AV is on a short leach.

        How about he knows AV sucks, and is willing to put up with it for a year before he is history, forgetting that he was forgotten on the bench.

        Joe, you try to defend him, wonderful, but how many on this site agree with me, probably a 2 to one ratio, if not 3 to one ratio in my favor!!!!!!!

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:


          Sorry, no way. No one is going to say, yeah, I think the coach sucks so I’ll sign anyway and hope management wises up eventually. Careers are too short, and no player will willfully sign with a team with a bad coach. Impossible.

          The fact that most folks out here feel as you do simply verifies that you are all passionate fans. Doesn’t mean that passionate fans are right. Obviously, the extension clearly shows management feels they have the right guy. At least that’s how they felt in January. Highly unlikely one playoff series in a year that management clearly designated as a transition year would change their thinking.

          The unexpected can happen, sure. But IMO, he gets AT least another full year before he truly is on the hot seat.

          • Walt says:


            We fans are indeed passionate, and want to win.

            Do GM’s live to make mistakes, yes.

            Is AV’s track record poor when it comes to taking a team over the top, yes.

            Can a GM spot a major trend, losing games in the last 2 minutes, and question the coach, yes.

            Can AV get another season under his belt with this team, yes.

            Can a free agent look at this roster, see where they may get a chance to play his position , because we have no one who is better, yes.

            Can you see a kid getting all caught up in the bright lights of Broadway, yes.

            Can it be your over valuing this clowns coaching skills, YES!!!!!!

            Bottom line, we have no idea what’s going on in these guys heads, but I suspect that because AV is the coach wouldn’t convince them to sign just for him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            Besides, where would you rather be in NY, or Detroit?????????? I know where my choice would be……I’d avoid Detroit like a disease!!!!!!!!

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              Young players sign with a team primarily for two reasons-

              1) The coaching staff will give them the best chance to learn, grow and hone their skills

              2) The team will give them them the best chance to one day get their name on the Cup.

              NYC is a great draw as well, but NO player is coming to NY if management or the coaching staff is a mess. Just look at the Knicks or the Yankees back in the late 80s/early 90s. People wanted no part of that nonsense.

              The Rangers are preceived as one of the claSiesta organizations in the league. AV is part of the reason for that reputation. I’ve never heard a bad word spoken about him by any of his former NY players.

              Indeed, in the Players Tribune, it was Kevin Hayes who praised AV. We learned that it was Brian Boyle, leaving the Rangers at the time, who gave a strong recommendation to play for this coach. It was then Hayes who recommended the same to Vesey. No chance this happens if AV was perceived as this clueless coach that is bad with young players.

              No one is suggesting that the players come primarily because of AV. But clearly, if AV was the poor coach you suggest, the Rangers would not be attracting young players in the manner that they do.

  4. Mintgecko says:

    I don’t understand this talk of if we resign Smith then no Shatty? The only reason why I would resign B Smith is because we wasted two decent picks on him and one of them was from the Brassard trade. Give him a extension that fits the window until he’s 31 and let him know that he’s a bottom 4 at best but mainly a bottom pair so it could allow for better equal minutes. People are overrating this guy, he had the same amount of love leaving his home that Holden did it seemed. I honestly cannot see this guy being as clutch as the 2013-15 version of Klein or bringing down top names like Girardi/Staal use to do. He’ll supply a mix of both at best and I guess he’ll have the affected of Glass did with his chippy play making fans forget about all his faults.

    Let Shatty come to us to build his nursing home over here like Boyle did by taking a few pay cuts. If they’re moving Staal. Girardi and Stepan then why not? This system and depth could really help his own game to turn out big for us. I would love to see him with Mcd and Skjei on the 2nd pair with a new name like Trouba. Gorton should offer Winnipeg Stepan in a package with Gropp for Trouba, see if they think he’ll supply them with his overrated playmaking/PK skills while being the suppose playoff vet that he clearly is not. They might bite since they have a 1c over there already so who knows…
    New young name/Smith

    • Walt says:


      Please see Staal, and Girardi’ contracts, that’s reason enough not to go after Shatty that contract will be a disaster after two years at best!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Remember Redden, Boyle, Yandle, Gomez, Drury, Staal. Girardi, and Daisy? These are a few names over the last 10 years, and we can name at least another 500 need be, there is no quick fix, we have to draft, and develope……………….

      Why are so many on this site so cavalier about throwing around other people’s money, the man is NOT worth it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. DAVID k says:

    Four yrs for 4 Mil per year sounds right or a signing bonus that equates to same and yes no NMC contract.

  6. supermaz says:

    Signing Shattenkirk for the money he’s looking for is ridiculous. Smith would come a lot cheaper and I’d prefer him over Shatty. Watching the Caps series I saw Shattenkirk as no better than a Matt Gilroy type of defenseman, I don’t get the hype.

  7. jerry maley says:


    • Chris F says:

      Worst suggestion of the year. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200, and may God have mercy on your soul.


      I agree; let’s take two 1st round picks (maybe more) worth of trade value aaand


      (go look @ Patrice Bergeron’s numbers in BOS before you say things like this)

      Mind you, I’m not a ‘step fan’…. but this is just ridiculous

    • JoeS. says:

      Jerry….how is anyone supposed to take you seriously?

  8. Blue Seat says:

    Keeping Smith at a cost friendly contract would VERY helpful, bringing up qualified defensive yutes would be good as well. Little Graves will be good to see in a Ranger uniform.

  9. Ron says:

    Every one here not on Shatty, did you see what the power play did in the playoffs. If we scored 3 more time we may still be playing! I agree contract needs to reasonable but if they find a way to red themselves of Stephan and a Staal/Giradi, it can be had. Let’s not forget the Gropp has played well and could be ready soon. Graves is nipping at the heels to play on the third pair defensively as well. The money is there to be freed up with replacement in house if we can find any takers! I also believe this team needs a elite center and that is what they are missing. And to get that they should trade Kreider or whomever to get it!

    • Jerry says:


      I am not against signing Shattenkirk. All I ask for is reasonable contractual terms. BOTH in dollars and length of contract and ABSOLUTELY NO ‘nmc’……………..
      He will help the PP, but leave much to be desired defensively. Therefore, if paired with McD, stiffel McD’s offensive potential.
      In my opinion Shattenkirk needs to be paired with a defence first left side D-man.
      Not a first pairing.

  10. Bloomer says:

    Smith could help the Rangers in the short term, but I rather see the Rangers build their D through the draft. Make a trade for a first round draft pick or some good young prospects. Staal, Girardi, Klein and Holden need to be phased out, but not until they have restocked their pipeline.

  11. Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

    Good article Pat. The only thing I don’t agree with is your contention that the Rangers must re-sign him simply because of what they gave up to get him. That’s the cost of making a deadline move–a move the Rangers HAD to make due to the injury to Klein. The Rangers will likely never miss those picks and I suspect there will be other deals made to pick up draft choices. So to me, the trade they made should have ZERO to do with whether to re-sign him or not.

    I like Smith and if the money and term is right, I’m all in favor of re-signing him. But NOT if his re-signing siphons off dollars that could be used for an even bigger piece.

    Most importantly–Happy Mother’s Day everybody!

    • Chris F says:

      Considering the Rangers have a 1st rounder this year in a draft that has a ton of solid defensive talent, coupled with the Bereglazov/Pionk signings, I agree that we can afford to not recoup those picks traded for Smith as a simple matter of principle.

      Which is not to say we shouldn’t re-sign Smith, only that the reason goes well beyond simply keeping something in return for those picks. He’s definitely worth keeping around on merit.


      “I like Smith and if the money and term is right, I’m all in favor of re-signing him. But NOT if his re-signing siphons off dollars that could be used for an even bigger piece. ”

      such as….. (no seriously, is there anyone of note with even a slight chance of going UFA in the next few years??)

    • Ray says:

      Amen. Those draft choices are gone. Part of what remains is Smith’s willingness to sign with the Rangers and maybe even sign a favorable contract. But just because you have paid for an option does not mean you should exercise that option if it is bad.


        I agree, sunken cost theory etc, but, Smith was good!

        Hopefully the only thing potential suitors saw of him was game 6 vs OTT; hell, even our wonderful coach AV ‘lost him on the bench’ (lol)………

  12. Andy says:

    Smith would be great to keep at the right price and term. He’s very dependable. But we need to know a few things before there can be any commitment. First is we really need to explore trading Staal or Girardi to a team that’s below the cap floor(even if you have to retain some salary) to get rid of one and then buy out the other(unless you can find 2 deals with cap floor teams). then you have a better idea of what cap space looks like. You also need to move Klein and Holden to free up cap space and make room. if you sign Smith then you decide are you going to try and do a deal like Trouba for Stepan type trade or do you sign Shattenkirk? I agree Smith is a guy to keep around, but the cap space may be a problem unless you can move a bunch of it out.

  13. AD says:

    Resigning Smith will be more difficult than some think, in my view. The NYR don’t have the best of cap flexibility as Pat described and the player has to approach this next contract as being his last and most financially significant contract before he enters a different phase of his career in 4-5yrs time. I think we could see a $500-$600k gap between what Smith gets offered by another team and what the max $$ the NYR will be willing to commit.

    As for the picks given up, E3 is right to say that’s the cost of doing that type of business at the trade deadline but, honestly, what have the Rangers gotten out of our last two trade deadline acquisitions (Staal and Smith)? Did we advance beyond expectations prior to those trades? Did we upset any playoff opponent? There are always “fill-in” players to temporarily plug gaps but the cost of our recent trade deadline acquisitions were for more than fill-ins. In that sense, our last two trade deadline acquisitions came at very significant costs.

    • JoeS. says:

      Listen B. Smith is a nice D-man, but he is not the guy to bring the cup to NY, so if he doesn’t like the terms…hasta luego, amigo! there are others just like him. Please he is not Leetch!

    • paulronty says:

      Agree, three second rounders, a third & Saarela, who started to play well at Charlotte for Ulfie was a significant cost.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        How in the world did those guys play well for Ulfie? According to you he was awful here! 🙂

        • paulronty says:

          Can you ever get anything right, without manipulating & distorting what others say? Did I say he played well BECAUSE of Ulfie. Besides, according to you it doesn’t matter anyway, because it’s only the AHL & AV didn’t say he was good. Only AV knows after all.

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            My, my someone is grumpy this morning. I was kidding around with you. (Note the smiley face!). But maybe you’re just in a bad mood because the AHLer you worship hasn’t scored a goal for the Griffins yet! :). (Again…please note the smiley face!!!!)

            Besides, being lectured by the likes of you about manipulating and distorting facts would be akin to getting the same lecture from Oliver Stone!

            The world according to Paul! Must be an interesting place.

  14. Richter1994 says:

    If I were the Rangers, I would think in terms of 2 top 4 D men (both righty). So a lot of cap space is going to be needed for that.

    That will influence what happens with Smith. If he’s getting more than $4M per, which he might, then I don’t think he’s here, assuming that Gorton gets those 2 top 4 righty D men. If he doesn’t then I think that Gorton would be willing to go a little higher for Smith.

    Another way to to it is to give Smith an “extra” year on the contract with a lower annual cap hit.

  15. Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

    Elliotte Friedman discussed the Rangers on the NHL Network the other day. He believes that while the Rangers will listen on any one, he expects both Nash and Stepan to be back. On Stepan, he said that an upgrade would be difficult to find and that he’s the kind of player that you don’t appreciate when he’s there but will likely miss when he’s gone. I mostly agree with this, but of course the NMC is the big concern about Stepan moving forward.

    The big moves will come on defense, and it may well be that an asst coach gets whacked like what happened in Chicago.

    • Richter1994 says:

      AV: “I never liked Arneil anyway.”

      Just once, ONCE, can we hear the coach say that SOMETHING is his fault? Once?

      • paulronty says:

        That’s why obseesives have so much trouble delegating. They think others will make mistakes that they would never make.

    • JoeS. says:

      OK I agree, ask Step if he wants to stay? If he does, then he needs to adjust NMC, if not, Hasta Luego! We are trying to bring a winner to NYC, you in? or out? We need to have elbow room for adjustments.

      • Walt says:

        That would be worst case scenario, but I’d still try my darnest to get rid of Daisy!!!!!!!!!

    • Walt says:


      You know what, I’m willing to take my chances, and I bet I wouldn’t miss the boy for even one shift!!!!!!!!

  16. Al Dugan says:

    Dead cap space in a non-increasing cap world is really awful business.

    Someone is going to overpay for Shattenkirk. I’m hoping it is t the Rangers.

    If you think Smith is worth over 4 million a year to whiff on his biggest play of the year (3rd goal against Ottawa game 6) then Girardi Is underpaid.

    Hocketstatminer on Twitter is forever coming up with scenarios about buying out or retaining salary with different players. Again, dead cap space is the worst outcome with no increase in sight for the cap.

    • JoeS. says:

      Stop making sense Dugan!


      This is true, but, at the same time, perhaps we don’t necessarily have to withhold 50% on the wonder twins to get rid of them.

      Maybe a 2nd & 4th round pick (plus some “prospect” or two; no one of note) accompanied with a more palatable 1.7 mil retained gets someone to bite on Staal’s name? Or the same for Girardi?

  17. Chris F says:

    Re-sign Smith.

    Buyout Staal or Girardi, and attempt to trade the other.

    Attempt to trade Stepan for a 1RHD, while adding Lindberg to the protected group of forwards.

    Draft Henri Jokiharju, Connor Timmons, or Nicolas Haugue with our 1st round pick.

    Give Pionk and Bereglazov the opportunity to compete in training camp.

    • Peter says:

      That sounds like a plan to me Chris.

    • Rich S. says:

      Spot on chris F…..
      .I cant believe any Gm would trade a 1RHD for Stepan….although I hope I am wrong….
      Would also be shocked anyone offered anything for stall and girardi…..although I hope I am wrong on that one too…
      I would be willing to add nash or stepan to any girardi/stall trade/giveaway in order to get out of cap hell that sather put us in……
      Like Rick DiPietro said for 8.5 million he needs to do more than 3 goals in the playoffs……
      I think it will be very hard to even give away all these older /big money guys………but we must find a way to keep lindberg/fast/grabner they are all very productive and valuable to us!!!


        Honestly, so many people here underrate stepoff like he’s just some 3rd line bum.

        Look up how many defensively responsible centers in the league put up 50 plus points consistently. Then, examine how much (of those few) they are paid/how old they are etc.

        I get that he’s not an irreplaceable elite talent…… but still, to say we should buy him out? That makes absolutely zero sense……..

        Even Nash…. just because he makes ~1.8m more (in terms of cap hit) than he should doesn’t mean he’s a prime candidate for exile….. especially since, thanks to IDIOTS like Mike Milolburry, his trade value is not very high right now (relative to his on-ice impact)

        My point is, I think too many fans are being reactionary, rather than objective when evaluating where we stand with some of these guys.

        (look around the league at some of these other contracts; Bobby Ryan’s & Anze Kopitar’s contracts, for example? OOF)

        • Chris F says:


          In no situation would I ever suggest buying out Stepan. That’s an incredibly preposterous idea, and would be just about the dumbest thing Gorton could do this summer. Fortunately, Gorton is no fool, and the idea likely hasn’t even crossed his mind.

          I’m largely in agreement with you on Stepan. He’s a nice player, easily top 30 center in the League (that makes him a 1C).

          He’s a top-60 scorer, good for 55 points every season, who plays a smart, two-way game. I know lots of people don’t like his style, and there are legitimate gripes about his playoff impact, but for anyone saying that no GM would touch him, they’re insane. Stepan would be a highly enticing trade bait. Do you know only 5 others players who’ve played in the last 10 years have higher GF% than Stepan?

          I wouldn’t buy him out, and I wouldn’t trade him for anything other than a 1RHD. But, if we can make that deal, I’d take it any day, while making Zibanejad our 1C, Hayes our 2C, and protecting Lindberg to make him out 3C. Then make a smart, cheap signing for a 4C.

          This would instantly make us a better team as forward depth is not our issue. We can afford to lose Stepan if it nets McDonagh a legitimate partner. We can’t afford to lose him for anything less.


            “In no situation would I ever suggest buying out Stepan. That’s an incredibly preposterous idea, and would be just about the dumbest thing Gorton could do this summer. Fortunately, Gorton is no fool, and the idea likely hasn’t even crossed his mind. ”

            LOL not you… I know you’re not sniffing glue. Don’t get me wrong, I’d ship him out tomorrow too (just for what he pulled in game 5 period one alone). The problem isn’t what he’s good at…. it’s what he lacks.

            But buy him out? Damn …. talk about scorched earth….

            Now, trading him for a younger future top d? We’d be insane not to do that.

            It’s not even (despite the aforementioned nonsense in OTT) really that personal; it’s mostly the circumstances of his contract & the nature of the cap. He could have been a playoff hero this year, and the only situation that would have changed (other than the draft order) would have been his trade value.

          • Walt says:


            Top 30, wow, we should be jumping thru the hoops!!!! Sorry I’ not biting here!!!!!!!

            • ANGRY WIENER DOG STAMPEDE says:

              Sorry Walt, statistically, there’s just not enough truly elite centermen to go around for every team. As such, statistically, yeah… he’s top 30ish.

              I didn’t believe it either when I heard that a couple of years ago, but it’s true. HERO charts, his p/60 (among other fancy stats), 50+ pts a year…… yeah, he’s in line with the lower end of, say, the top-40.

              You have to remember, there’s no rule against having more than one of them. Pittsburgh, Tampa, Washington, I could keep going – they all have multiple guys who are “numba one centas”.

              • Chris F says:

                Walt, top 30 center in a League of 30 teams makes you a #1 center.

                I’m not saying you should be jumping for joy that we’re so blessed to have Stepan, but he’s a solid player who statistically is easily a two-way #1 C.

                The point being, he’s very tradeable and lots of GMs would be interested.

                He’s not the bum you guys make him out to be, thankfully.

              • Walt says:


                If Daisy is so wonderful, and statistically a 1C, 2 way player, then trade for him, he can get us a great return. However, I suspect that a smart GM won’t be looking at the stats, but his play, or lack thereof, and give us maybe a 2nd round pick. The guy is so over rated, and soft, too vanilla for my taste!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Rich S. says:

          Stepan….Number 1 Center?????
          I’ll have what you guys are drinking!
          Admittedly, he said he had a bad playoff run…..his words not mine…
          Since his concussion in boston a few years back, he runs from contact like a crook runs from the cops……
          He is slow, soft, no shot, not capable of driving to net, lacks passion, fire, intensity, no leadership and recently has stopped covering his [assignment ] opponent in the slot…..
          And the only reason he puts up numbers which have been decreasing is because he plays more power play and regular ice time than any other forward…….
          Reminds me of a pitcher who pitches 200 innings and has a 10-12 win loss and 6.00 era!!!!


            “He is slow, soft, no shot, not capable of driving to net, lacks passion, fire, intensity, no leadership and recently has stopped covering his [assignment ] opponent in the slot…..”

            All of which are excellent reasons to trade him to teams desperate for something vaguely resembling a top centerman / those looking for a #2.

            Just don’t expect to have his void instantly filled, though. 50+ point two way centers (even if they have a shitty playoff run) do not grow on trees.

          • Chris F says:

            Rich, you just listed a bunch of subjective indicators.

            Here’s some objective facts:

            Derek Stepan consistently puts up ~55 points, which makes him a top-30 center and a top-60 scorer in the League.

            This season he was on the ice for 1051 shot attempts for, second most on the team, and sported a 50.75% Corsi (51.95% Fenwick). His xGF% was 53.42%, third on the team among regular starters. His SCF% was 53.56%. His actual GF% was 59.49%, best on the team. He’s on the right side of 50% on just about every objective measure of possession and scoring.

            Over the course of his career he’s rocked an actual GF% higher than all but 5 players who’ve played in the League over that time frame. Put another way, since Stepan broke into the League he’s driven scoring for his team at the 6th highest ratio among all active players during that time.

            You can rattle off a bunch of opinions on his style of play, but the stats speak for themselves and no GM is going to ignore that. He’s a lower tier #1 C, and he’d bring back a sizable return in a trade.

          • Chris F says:

            Ha! I missed the part where you said his production has been decreasing.

            2013-14 17G 40A 57P
            2014-15 16G 39A 55P
            2015-16 22G 31A 53P
            2016-17 17G 38A 55P

            Seems pretty consistent there in the last 4 seasons.

        • Walt says:


          Does it make sense that if some foolish GM pays thru the nose for average players, we should too????? I think not my friend!


            No, it doesn’t, but, I think people forget that every team has its share of contracts that are varying degrees of bad (but solely as a function of cap hit, not how good the player actually is or isn’t). Well, not EVERY team, but it’s close.

            In other words, I don’t think it’s fair to call guys like Nash average (even if he’s not living up to that 7.8 cap hit).

            You could however argue that, for example, you’re getting below-average value per dollar of cap. This is true, and it is why contracts like Girardi’s / Staal’s are true killers, because a replacement level guy making NHL minimum salary would be a direct upgrade over either of them. With Nash, that’s just not true; if he made 5.5 a year (or so), no one would complain about the guy.

            And, I know you probably won’t agree, but, from a numbers standpoint, Stepan reaaaaaally isn’t overpaid.

            As I’ve said, I think we should move on from him (if for nothing more than the fact he doesn’t bring anything else we can’t replace)…. but to say he’s overpaid is just not true, relative to what other comparable players earn.

            • Walt says:


              I never advocated giving the guy away, or heaven forbid buying him out. I’d move him for the best return I can get, and if push turns to shove, retain some cap hit to make the deal work.

              Z, Hayes, Oscar, and Boo would be a deep foursome, with an increase in speed, probably even out on the scoring because Z, and Hayes, along with Oscar’s increase ice time, and PP time, I’d bet we would get an increase in points.

              Bottom line, I can’t see anything he’s done over the last couple of years, especially after his contract negotiation, holding the team hostage, that would want me to keep him, get rid of Daisy!!!!!

        • Richter1994 says:

          Trading Stepan for a top pair righty D man is not giving up on Stepan, it’s improving the team.

          Wanting to trade Stepan simply to get him off the team is giving up on him and that is not the right move, by a country mile.


            Exactly. Move the guy (it’s the right choice, IMO)…. but don’t do it if the market isn’t right. Getting ripped off just for the sake of change is incredibly short sighted.

            He’s not Staal or Girardi.

            • Walt says:

              Yes he is!!!!!!!!

              Can he skate, no.
              Does he do anything on the PP, no.
              Does he lug the puck into the O zone, no.
              Does he work the boards, no.
              Does he avoid contact at all costs, hell yes.
              Really, what good is the guy???????

              • ANGRY WIENER DOG STAMPEDE says:

                I agree that he fails to bring something we sorely need. See, Walt, some people just see stuff like HERO charts & their eyes get foggy; hopefully, no one important has noticed what we all have.

                To others (who don’t watch his play on a regular basis & only rely on charts), his value is he’s a top 30 centerman on a good contract whose best days are not behind him. He’s still a (relatively) good player, despite the fact that he probably couldn’t even push players from juniors around.

                To us, he’s just another center taking the spot of someone we desperately hope will step up (lol) next year.

                Basically, he’s our best trade chip by far, both because of his value & that we *might* be able to replace him. Just don’t be surprised if we trade him to a team with elite wingers & his numbers go up accordingly.

              • Rich S. says:

                I cant fathom anyone who actually watches Stepan play think he is anything but a 3rd or 4th line player on a poor team!!!!

                Comparing him to bostons bergeron is ludicrous……
                John taveras had 66 points this year…does that mean stepan is as good as him????????
                top 30 maybe in the AHL!

              • Rich S. says:

                And you are right when zib, hayes, lindberg, boo get stepans ice time they will easily outpoint him……..addition by subtraction!!!!

                But really they cant be watching the games…..

            • Richter1994 says:

              Correct, but the trade costs will be high for top 4 D men. 2/3rds of the league are looking for them as well.

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:


            What I do know is this. At the moment anyway, your three untouchables, Miller, Kreider and Hayes, might be the three most overrated players in the league and maybe all of Rangers history.

            Fixing that is the key to the Rangers future. Not winning a thing with those “faux stars” unless they improve dramatically.

            I’m fine with moving on from Stepan….IF you can find me a viable replacement. And from what I’ve seen, that replacement is NOT in the organization in the moment.

    • paulronty says:

      Nicolas Hague should be there as will Jokiharju at 21. Connor Timmons might not be, but that would be fine with me because I wouldn’t draft him anyway.

      • Chris F says:

        My preference is probably Jokiharju.

        Curious why so down on Timmons though?

        • Chris F says:

          Timmons is a 6’1″ RHD. He’s billed as a really good skating, puck moving defenseman who can QB a PP. He’s also solid defensively by all accounts and doesn’t shy from the physical play.

          He was ranked much lower heading into this season, but took off and is easily St Sault Marie’s best defender now, ranked to go late in the 1st round by just about everyone at this point.

        • paulronty says:

          Admittedly, my sample of viewing him is small, but I didn’t think he was that great defensively or played with much intensity. I’m probably wrong, but he just didn’t grab me. Watched him play against Widsor a couple times & was just not impressed. Overrated? Don’t know.

          • Chris F says:

            Fair enough. I’ve never watched him play beyond highlights, just going on the projections and scouting reports.

            I’d certainly take Jokiharju or Hague over him if available, though.

  18. JoeS. says:

    Nice job, Pat! However, I would never give another contract over 4 years. I don’t care, I just wouldn’t. Go play somewhere else, I’ll find the right guys who want to win in NY, without hurting the system. Winning in NY is totally different than winning anywhere else, you want to win here?, accept my terms. You want the biggest contract you can get?, regardless of winning, go somewhere else. I want to build a team interested in bringing a Cup or 2 back to NY, and all that goes with it. You in? or out? The only way to do it, is to control the cap!!!!!!!!


      “Nice job, Pat! However, I would never give another contract over 4 years. I don’t care, I just wouldn’t. Go play somewhere else, I’ll find the right guys who want to win in NY, without hurting the system”

      To be fair, if you want to retain the elite & irreplaceable talent you accrue, term is something you’ve gotta give on.

      There’s just not enough ‘right guys who want to win in NY’ out there in the world these days…..

      However, for non-elite players, that’s a pretty solid rule.

    • paulronty says:

      Well, we agree on something because 4 years is my limit too & never ever another no movement clause.


        To be fair, there’s only a handful of current guys on this team that I’d give a behemoth (longer than 4 years) contract to, be it now or (potentially) one day.

        One player already got one, one should if he continues his elite defensive play, and one might if he ever decides to show the talent he really can be on a regular nightly basis.

        Also, if it helps, none of the prior three are expansion draft ineligible players …. although, of the players whom we do not have to protect, two of them just might play their way into the aforementioned ‘elite’ category one day.

        You could probably guess who they all are (which is my point).

  19. Ray says:

    I’m not convinced we have much of an idea what is going to happen. Ranger brass tends not to tip its hand. I don’t think AV will be fired, but it is not impossible. I can also imagine 6-10 players out the door — and not just guys we want to be rid of. We shall see a tweak or a major overhaul or something in between. If Gorton is thinking big changes and AV is thinking tweak, AV is gone. If they are on the same page, he isn’t.

    • Richter1994 says:

      It’s not under their control, except for the signing of Shatty, for the most part. A lot of teams are looking for D man help and the trade costs for a top pair righty D will be high.

      Wanting, intending, etc. doesn’t mean they can actually pull it off.

  20. Anthony DiMichele says:

    First AV has to go , it was so bad, how is stall out late in games, he can’t shoot, slowed and I believe he lost vision in his eye , he is never in position, as for gird he played well enough, but he is finished 3rd line D. He sat Brady even after scoring, kids got speed in final 5 minutes of a game and u sit him. Sit stephan on PP, . his numbers during cause of year only reflect the 2 wings worth around him, Stephan never in corner, afraid of re injuring shoulder.This team need to make moves. Stephan first, so as not to obsorb the NTC.make nice package with Miller, who showed us nothing0000. Av will never bring up youth , so why are we making these nice signing, ifAV is still here..

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      Right….all these young guys CHOOSE to sign here…on the recommendation of OTHER young guys who have played for AV. Skjei shines in his rookie season. But of course we have to make up more untrue nonsense. .


        He couldn’t have shone too bright…. otherwise, AV wouldn’t have lost him on the bench.

        In his defense, I hear that light (no matter how bright it is) can escape a black hole (two, specifically).

        • Walt says:


        • paulronty says:

          That idiotic comment alone proves my point that AV is dumber than a stump. How in hell do you “lose” players on the bench? Gotta be THE dumbest thing a coach has EVER said.

          • Richter1994 says:

            And even admitting the mistake through that comment, he still didn’t say that he was at fault. Delusional and arrogant.

            • paulronty says:

              Oh yes, the arrogance is covertly evident. I have to thank that guy at Blueshirt Banter who said he stopped watching AV pressers because it made him crazy. I followed suit & did the same, mostly because of the disingenuous charm & the palpable underlying arrogance.

  21. Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

    I’m going to say upfront, I am AWFUL, the WORST, absolutely PITIFUL when it comes to predicting what WILL happen. Which is why I could never be a GM. I could probably write a book on Rangers history of the past 50 years, and I can analyze what is going on and certainly can connect the dots as well as anyone not privy to actual inside information. But predict trades or the trajectory of player development? Awful. And that’s because it’s even hard for the pros to know for sure.

    So with that disclaimer out of the way, allow me to entertain you with this speculation. This is what I truly believe. Firing the coach is NOT going to happen. If it did, all it would do is make the some of fan base feel good-not actually improve the team. Worrying about what happens with fringe guys is nice, but that’s not going to flip the narrative much either. I like Smith, but he’s not a difference maker.

    The core is frayed. The Rangers used to be a shutdown defensive team from 2012-2015. They no longer are. The defense has age on it, and Hank, while still great, isn’t Vezina Hank on a consistent basis anymore. I think Sather/Gorton knew this would happen, but expected a metamorphosis where the balance of power if you will would shift to the young forwards, who would emerge as stars by now. While that core, led by Stepan, Kreider, Hayes and Miller, have by and large been good, none of them have been consistently great. Put it altogether, and we get the expected result. Solid, good teams but not championship caliber.

    So to change this, the dynamic needs to change. If the Rangers were desperate and asked me to solve their issues, I would gladly accept the challenge. :). So what would I do? Nothing small. Small moves mean marginal if any change to the outcome of the season. It is time for something bold.

    To make BIG acquisitions, you need to take some risks. First, I would assess with my pro personnel people, what do we REALLY see as the upside here for the four above mentioned players? I would include McDonagh in this conversation to. I would ask for an assessment of each.

    It’s very simple. The team as is has a lot of good talent but no great talent. It’s almost impossible to win a Cup that way. So, do any of those guys have another level they can elevate their game to? If so, when? This upcoming year? The following year? Do we need to be patient? Can they make a big leap forward? On the flip side, what could those guys bring back in a deal?

    Unless we luck out like we did in the Gomez deal, no one is going to take the guys we want to dump and give us a great return. So this is where i need your help. I’d trade ANY of those guys for the right return. And prior to the deadline, we heard that teams had an interest in Miller. So what would happen IF we packaged Miller and Hayes? What would we get back? What about Kreider and McDonagh? Is there a blockbuster to be had?

    Again, not advocating for any of this. But if you really want to go from the good team we are to a truly great team, then the core must be blown up and the personnel must be upgraded.

    History lessons–NY Yankees of the mid-70’s. Some good solid teams that might have been wildcard teams if it had existed then. But not good enough to win it all. Gabe Paul came in and traded core players like Murcer, Peterson, prospects like Velez and Spikes, a young pitcher like Doc Medich. They flipped Bonds. The fan base went nuts because popular players were shown the door. The dynamic of the room changed. The players were pissed. Paul remarked, “There’s a lot of camaraderie on those average ball clubs.

    Big, bold deals were made. Key FAs were signed. Suddenly, the Yankees were transformed from good to great, and a pair of back to back championships happened.

    For the Rangers to flip the narrative so it no longer has to be “If Hank stands on his head we have chance” (which frankly is no longer the realistic way to win here), then we need an infusion of legit stars, not the faux stars we have now.

    So what BIG deal(s) can we make? Let’s think bold!!!!

    • Chris F says:

      #1 priority still has to be fixing the defense.

      If we’re committed to that, then there are any number of core altering moves to be made.

      I’d stay away from signing Shattenkirk and just throwing money at the problem. I’m not impressed enough with him to shell out $6+ mil for him.

      Jacob Trouba isn’t getting shopped. Winnipeg just locked him in to a bridge contract this past year with the intention of signing him long-term after that. He had a great season and I’m sure he’s not going anywhere.

      But, we need a solid RHD. It’s unavoidable. Can’t enter next season without improving on the right side.

      So, Chris Tanev?

      28 year old RHD possibly on the block I hear as Vancouver looks to go full rebuild. Tanev has been an advanced metrics darling, but had his worst year statistically this season. A deeper analysis suggests it’s not on him, but just a shitty Canucks team, but still, his trade value could be at an all time low. Could we land him for Hayes, as Vancouver looks to go younger in preparation for their 3-5 year plan?

    • Jerry says:


      I’m all for bold moves. I believe I am in the minority, but I feel the Ranger fan base would be patient with a complete overhaul. Dolan wouldn’t but really who cares about Dolan except for Mrs. Dolan, if there is one.

      But you continually mention Krieder-Miller-Hayes as a trio who should go. If you’re talking complete Yankee type blow-out, why not include Hank as well. Frankly there shouldn’t be any untouchables on this team. By definition, a complete blow-out mean anyone and everyone is a candidate to be moved. And moved not just for live NHL bodies, but for picks and prospects. Future powerhouses in this league are Toronto and Edmonton. They had a plan and that plan is just now starting to bear fruit.

      As to your offhanded comment as to writing a book………… If I think back to my college Lit classes for some what I believed was useless facts, the longest literary piece ever penned, was some French author named Romaine or something like that, maybe some 8,000+ pages. Longest in word count ever written. (not longest in page count due to font size). However, if you wrote a book, his record would be in serious jeopardy…….. *s*

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Because Hank isn’t going anywhere. So why waste brain cells on something that has virtually no chance of happening.

        The Rangers also aren’t going to do a complete rebuild at this time. There is no reason to do it. My suggestion about trading the “Untouchables” is about trading your most desirable and cheapest assets for some big return. I’m just speculating. I’m not advocating to trade anyone.

        All I’m saying is, if we want this team to legitimately compete for a Cup, we either need for the Untouchables to actually start playing to that level, or we need to find REAL untouchables. Otherwise, it will be the same old same old.

      • paulronty says:

        Touche Jerry, LOL!!!!!! I’m going to write a book called THE ART OF THE PRECIS and send an autographed copy to Eddie.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          Well that’s it. I know when I’ve been insulted. No autographed copies of my History of the Rangers for Paul or Jerry!

  22. slick 62 (@Kapo640) says:

    Has the whole world gone nuts? There’s no way Smith gets resigned. 4 million is ludicrous. To say he played well with Skjei? Look at him for what he is. Average, dime a dozen dman… we played 5 left handed defense men in playoffs. Sure it’s easy to say he can play right side, but it didn’t work. Add to that our top minor league dmen are all left handed.Day, Brezgolev and Graves. Smith was constantly out of position.. look at tying goal in game 5. Wtf was he doing? Girardi has 15 teams we can trade him to. That’s a must. Like it or not, Staal will probably be back next season. Buy out would give us a cap hit for 8 years!! Not happening. His contract becomes a limited no trade after next season so we should wait to trade him. And no to signing Shatty. He’s going to want a 7 year deal like Yandles.