After an unceremonious loss to the Senators, we find ourselves here again. The offseason. This one is particularly interesting, not only because of the major changes likely on the horizon for the Blueshirts, but also the Expansion Draft that threatens to throw a wrench in the roster planning for the entire league.
We typically get everyone’s basic perspective and team building philosophy in our lively comments section, but let’s take it up a notch, shall we? We want to put you in the driver’s seat of the New York Rangers’ offseason. That’s right, the Offseason Plan Contest is back. For the uninitiated, we have run this contest a few times in the past and gotten some killer submissions. We want you to become the architect of the New York Rangers organization and outline your plan to bring the team back to glory.
Here are the rules: You will design a comprehensive off-season plan proposal, taking us from The Expansion Draft to the start of training camp. You will have all of the assets and resources of the organization at your disposal to make trades, sign free agents, re-sign players and make call-ups. This year, of course has the added wrinkle of who you will expose, protect and ultimately lose in the Expansion Draft. Once you have created your plan, you will submit your outline to the writing staff for evaluation.
Once the submission deadline has passed, the writing staff here will deliberate the most deserving of entries and run the finest three submissions as guest posts. Once these plans are published, their fates are in your hands. We will run a poll for you to vote for your favorite and the winner shall be enshrined forever in BSB glory. For reference, here is our most recent winning entry (submitted by everyone’s favorite centrist, Hatrick Swayze).
Alright, so let’s talk specifics. In order to ensure a level playing field, we are going to be using certain baseline assumptions that everyone has to work with:
1. We don’t currently have an accurate figure for the 2017-2018 salary cap, but Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly has estimated a $76 million ceiling. Since that is the best information we have at the moment, for the purposes of this exercise, your salary cap is $76m.
2. All conditions exist as they do today, May 19, 2017. The New Jersey Devils hold the #1 overall pick in the Draft, with the Vegas Golden Knights holding the #6 pick. Kevin Shattenkirk and T.J. Oshie still headline a weak free agent class. Ben Bishop is off the board and the Final Four is still being played.
3. The Rangers currently have $63.8 million committed to 18 roster spots. That gives you $12.2 million to work with to round out a roster of 23.
6. At this point, it is unlikely that the NHL will announce any sort of compliance buy-out or other expansion related loopholes for roster maneuvering. If you want to rid yourself of a bad contract, it will have to come from a buy-out or trade.
7. Alain Vigneault and his staff are currently employed and empowered in their current roles. Chris Drury is now the GM of the Hartford Wolfpack. If you feel that this particular coaching staff (either as a whole or in part) is no longer the right fit for future success, feel free to relieve them of their duties. If that is the case, you must select from the current pool of available candidates for a replacement.
Armed with all of this knowledge, how do you get from here to the winner’s circle? So far, in our experience, it is all about research and creativity. Credibility is a central concept to the research component. Your plan needs to be plausible. Remember, your trade proposal sucks. Before you commit to offloading Girardi or Staal’s massive dead contract, make sure you look at it from the other side and ensure that the other GM has a valid reason for pulling the trigger. GM’s don’t deal from the kindness of their hearts. If you are going outside the box, try to track down some comparables to support the move.
Market forces are also a major factor. Just because Kevin Shattenkirk had a sub-par postseason does not mean he will sign a four year deal for $4.5m per. Just because the draft is seen as weak doesn’t mean teams are going to give away top ten picks, either.
The Expansion Draft. An interesting addition to this year’s proceedings. The Rangers’ strategy for dealing with Vegas’ invasion of their roster will be entirely up to you. From the format (7/3/1 v 8/1) to negotiations with George McPhee to take a lesser talent in exchange for other assets, etc. You will be responsible for listing who you are protecting and who you believe Vegas will take from that group. CapFriendly has a very cool simulator for drafting the Vegas team, so feel free to make arguments for roster need based on a created simulation.
The Entry Draft itself is entirely up to you. We understand that not everyone is a prospect guru, so you may not feel confident making third round picks on the team’s behalf. Our very own Josh Khaflin is very knowledgable on both prospects and international players, so feel free to drop him a line if you have a question about a draft-eligible player (Sorry, Josh!). The Rangers currently hold the 21st (Round 1), 102nd (Round 4), 145th (Round 5), 157th (Round 6) and 207th (Round 7) picks in the Draft. All of these picks, plus all the other assets of the organization are available in trades.
You can put forth as little or as much research as you would like when completing your plan. This is all for fun, after all. However, if you have designs on winning, our past winners have had really well researched and creatively presented plans. Resources like CapFriendly, HockeyDB, behindthenet.ca, corsica.hockey, hockey-graphs.com, Hockey’s Future and dispellingvoodoo.com are invaluable resources to this type of exercise. CapFriendly also has an Armchair GM tool that can help get you organized.
Make sure your submission is post-worthy. Check your spelling and grammar. A few typos here and there are perfectly fine, but if we have to do a full-scale re-edit, we will probably just going to go with a different candidate. You are encouraged to attach visual media (charts, photos, etc.) to your submission to illustrate your concepts.
Make sure you include all our writers (contact info on the sidebar) when submitting your plan. All submissions will be due by the eve of the Expansion Draft, so we need everything by June 20, 2017. This gives you a month to create, tweak and hone your plans.
This season seemed to be an exercise in frustration. This is the perfect opportunity to do things your way and undo the mistakes of the past. Remember, the most important thing is to have fun with it. Let your creativity run wild. Use it as an opportunity to research some things you may not normally research. Make big changes. Make small changes. Don’t forget, we are here to help, so feel free to reach out with any questions. Good luck, everyone! We can’t wait to read them."2017 BSB Offseason Plan Contest",