Bad narrative debunking: Staal/Girardi buyouts cost Rangers more money

dan girardi marc staal

One of the major topics this year is the futures of Marc Staal and Dan Girardi. It’s a necessary evil to discuss, as it’s become abundantly clear that neither can compete in the top-four, which is what they are paid to do. They both have flashes and both have good games here and there, but on the whole, neither are top-four anymore. It’s painful to say, as they have a whopping 21 years with the Rangers combined and have been the backbone of the Rangers’ resurgence to relevance since Lockout 2.0 (2005).

But here we are, discussing what the future holds for them. With a combined $11.2 million in cap space and three (Girardi) or four (Staal) years remaining, neither contract is desired across the league. The Wade Redden rule –and their no-move clauses– make it impossible to bury them in the minors. So the Rangers are left with two choices. The first is to buy them out. The second is to trade viable assets with their toxic contracts to rid themselves of the pair.

Let’s focus on the first option though. There is a lot of chatter that buying out their contracts results in the Rangers taking on more money. I’m not entirely sure where this talk comes from. Let’s be clear, buying out both contracts saves the Rangers money in the short term, when they need it the most.

dan girardi buyout
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Above is the cost of the Girardi buyout. On his current cap hit ($5.5 million), the Rangers would save $2.9 million this coming season and $1.9 million the next two seasons. Those savings are over the life of the remaining years on his deal, if not bought out. After that, it’s an additional $1.1 million for the following three seasons.

marc staal buyout
Click to enlarge

Above is Staal’s buyout. On his current cap hit ($5.7 million), the Rangers would save $3.6 million the next two seasons. That drops to $2.6 million in savings for 2019-2020 and down to $1.8 million in 2020-2021. Those four cap hits are savings based on the remaining years on his deal. After that, it’s $1.4 million for the next four seasons.

So let’s add these numbers together. If the Rangers don’t buyout either player, it’s $11.2 million in cap hits for players that simply can’t do it in their roles anymore. An argument can be made that having either of them playing significant minutes can severely hinder the Blueshirts’ ability to seriously compete for a Stanley Cup.

But by buying them out, the Rangers would have an additional $5.5 million in cap space to fill their roles. Let’s assume the Rangers are still going to have Ryan McDonagh, Brady Skjei, and Nick Holden (ugh) manning the blue line next year. Let’s also assume that the Rangers find a way to jettison Kevin Klein ($2.9 million). That gives the Rangers $8.4 million to re-sign Brendan Smith and find two additional defensemen.

Now here’s the kicker. The Rangers are expecting one of Neal Pionk, Alexei Bereglazov, or Ryan Graves to make the team out of camp. By all accounts, Bereglazov and Pionk are close or at NHL ready. Graves also had an impressive year. All three will be on ELCs will be at most $925,000 (Pionk, Bereglazov). Graves is at $657,000.

Even if Brendan Smith gets $4.5 million, the Rangers still make out in the end because they will have at least one more ELC (Skjei is still on his) on the blue line. No matter which way you cut it, the Ranges save huge over the next few seasons. Let’s also remember that Rick Nash’s $7.8 million cap hit comes off the books after next season. So for the 2018-2019 season, the Rangers are still in a good spot.

Now the concern is naturally going to be the additional years of dead cap space. The savings on Staal’s buyout actually negates the cost of Girardi’s first dead cap space year. So for all intents and purposes, the Rangers will have two years of $2.5 million in buyout cap hits and one year of $1.4 million. That will start in 2021-2022.

But you know who’s off the books by then? Henrik Lundqvist and his $8.5 million cap hit.

So while I certainly appreciate the cost ramifications of buying out both Girardi and Staal, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that both buyouts cost the Rangers more money. It’s a bad narrative that has unfortunately crept into the mainstream. The Rangers save big time money when they need it the most (NOW!), and their dead cap space years are offset by Lundqvist’s expiring deal.

Long story short, the Rangers need to make a change on the blue line and in the locker room. It begins with buying out their two worst defensemen, who also happen to be their alternate captains. This isn’t to say they are bad alternate captains, far from it. It’s to say that sometimes buying out bad players shows that the front office means business, and is in it to win it. It’s just business at this point, and it’s good business.

"Bad narrative debunking: Staal/Girardi buyouts cost Rangers more money", 5 out of 5 based on 38 ratings.

37 thoughts on “Bad narrative debunking: Staal/Girardi buyouts cost Rangers more money

  • May 21, 2017 at 8:17 am

    I can’t wait for the off season.

  • May 21, 2017 at 8:20 am

    What about a trade while retaining half of their cap hits?

    • May 21, 2017 at 11:43 am

      That’s the 3rd and BEST option by far, one I’ve been pushing for the last few months. I think at under $3 mill each they’re still viable options for “some” team. They may even give us a small return, just like Klein will.

      • May 21, 2017 at 12:26 pm

        I would be fine with Girardi at a 2.75 million cap hit for the next 3 years. I’m sure there are several other team that would be too.

        He would have to waive his NMC. If he’s bought out though he only gets paid 2/3 of his remaining contract (correct me if I’m wrong on that). If he is traded and we retain half his cap then he is still paid his full contract enough. You present him with these two options. Maybe that couple of million dollars is enough for him to waive the NMC.

        • May 21, 2017 at 1:11 pm

          Spozo, I believe Girardi’s NMC expires as of 7/1. He will then be under a LNTC, with I think means he can list 15 teams he’s willing to be traded to.

          So no question, dealing him will be much easier this summer than in the past.

        • May 21, 2017 at 1:35 pm

          Doubt they accept a trade. They’d make up the last third on whatever contract they sign as a free agent . (Maybe a little more.) Plus they can sign wherever they want.

    • May 21, 2017 at 6:11 pm

      Even in that scenario, the Rangers would likely need to include a draft pick or a prospect to move the contract.

  • May 21, 2017 at 8:31 am

    Dave…good summary and thanks for reminding us some of the underlying economics Gorton is working with. Gorton must fix the blue line even as the head coach does not do anything to improve himself or special teams. Getting quality back there will have a systemic improvement across the game. After watching the Pens, Ottawa and most impressively the Preds run two defensemen on each of their power-play units using Ekholm and Josi on their No. 1 unit, then roll Subban and Ellis on PP2 —what a luxury. What…we can only roll one if I am correct.

  • May 21, 2017 at 8:46 am

    Hi – what happens if either player signs with another team once the Rangers buy them out? Are the Rangers still on the hook for any cap hit?

    • May 21, 2017 at 10:36 am

      If they get bought out, the cap hit remains. Doesn’t matter if they sign elsewhere.

      • May 21, 2017 at 12:30 pm

        Thanks for the reply. That doesn’t seem fair or logical, but it is what it is.

  • May 21, 2017 at 9:43 am

    Agree with everything you said, but it’s also important to take these broken tools away from a coach who can’t stop using them…and force him to play some of the younger guys

    • May 21, 2017 at 10:48 am

      Excellent comment Andy!
      Just as you take away potentially injurious items away from a child who doesn’t know any better.
      AV can’t help himself.

    • May 22, 2017 at 5:05 pm

      Very true. I don’t think either of these guys would be nearly as horrendous with sheltered 3rd pair minutes and/or many more rest nights in the press box (preferably against teams with top offensive units). It’s that they are on the ice for many minutes and/or important minutes that irks me. The contracts are what they are; NMCs often come with some level of regret at some point in those contracts…doesn’t mean the coach has to play them for 20 a night or away from the 3rd pair.

  • May 21, 2017 at 10:17 am

    Buy both of them out. And win a Stanley cup in my life time

  • May 21, 2017 at 10:32 am

    No one disagrees that Staal and Girardi arent the big minute shutdown dmen they once were. However replacing them with unproven rookie defencemen will not benefit the team. The new comers will have to earn their spot the same way Brady Skjei did. Kk had a rough season and only one year left on his contract I would start the rebuild but moving him. Also if the Ranger do sign a PP quarterback defencemen Holden becomes

    • May 21, 2017 at 12:49 pm

      Huh? have you been watching the same Wonder Twins as everyone else?

      There are AHLers that could step in & be an immediate improvement (Kampfer, for example)

      • May 21, 2017 at 12:58 pm

        Spot on Stampede, who would want thone 2 has been players, even with the Rangers obsorbing half of their $$$$. They were finished 2 years ago. Only AV never saw the obvious.

      • May 22, 2017 at 5:07 pm

        This is my point as well. The young inexperienced guys, if they can skate, should basically immediately be an upgrade – at least in the defensive scheme AV runs. Sadly, AV himself fails to see this.

  • May 21, 2017 at 10:35 am

    ….dispenseable. Staal and Girardi remain as role players until the rebuild is complete.

  • May 21, 2017 at 10:45 am

    Thanks Dave.
    VERY informative, I certainly learned a lot about a situation I knew little about.

  • May 21, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    If AV goes with 2 rookies on the blue line, let alone 3, I’ll walk on my hands from the Port Authorityto MSG.

    • May 21, 2017 at 1:13 pm

      If these rookies actually have the talent to play in the NHL now, then he will. The learning curve for young defensemen is pretty steep though, so they have to be ready and capable.

      • May 21, 2017 at 2:28 pm

        Wait! E3: an economical if trenchant three sentences? No way…

        This is worrisome. Someone knock on Eddie’s penthouse door, or send the Sheriffs to his summer dacha in The Adirondack.

        To your briefest of brief salvos, I’ll project Marc Staal in Minnesota next season. While Dan Girardi mentors our young additions on the blue line.

        Yes: we’ll add a rookie–at the prompting of Jeff Beukeboom–who’ll see sheltered minutes.

        Perhaps Shattenkirk, as well, if not another D-man from the Western Conference: any of Dallas, Calgary or Anaheim.

        • May 21, 2017 at 4:46 pm

          Actually two sentences Professor! I think his daughter’s training as a psychologist is finally bearing fruit.

          • May 21, 2017 at 8:06 pm

            Touché Paul and Fotiu! 🙂

    • May 21, 2017 at 2:05 pm

      I’ll join you because it is never going to happen. In order to develop young D you have to throw them into the fray & live with their mistakes as they did with Skjei. But that would be a rare event for AV because he’d rather play a dog like Holden because in his mind, he thinks he’s “dependable.” He’s risk aversive to a point. Let’s see if they move Skjei up instead of giving him sheltered minutes with a vet.

  • May 21, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    Marc has no problem with me. He is still a great one on one dman and when paired with the right partner still has value.

    Girardi. Is in decline. He really needs to just hang them up.

  • May 21, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    I dont see Gorton buying both out, could see one but not both. I think its Staal that goes because the left side with Mac/Skjei is alot better then the right side of nothing proven.

    I dont think either is unmoveable, if salary is retained and mid picks are included. Will they waive go to the destination, who knows but at half retained someone will take them. While they may be unwilling to go to that team part if their decision will be the fact that they still get 100% of money owed on contract not 66%. Money that even signing low end deals they probably wont recoup. Having 6 million in dead space with less picks, is alot better then 11 million in dead space.

  • May 21, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    Why are you going to want to pay Smith 4.5 million?

  • May 21, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    I am all for getting the rookies in there and seeing if they can cut it. Re-sign Smith, buy out both Staal and Girardi if possible and see if a good defender is available via trade.

    Brady Skjei, Jimmie Vesey and Pavel Buchnevich are skating proof that AV will play kids.

  • May 21, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    Chicago Tribune reporting that Ulf Samuelsson is the front runner to join Coach Q’s staff in Chicago as one of his assistant coaches. Guess he’s not the train wreck coach he was made out to be by some out here last year.

    • May 22, 2017 at 6:36 am

      On the economics side of the D-men issue, you are eye popping, mind filling and provide irrefusable information as to why in terms of cap economics they should pull the buyout trigger. Most importantly, the management should do it for the sake and health of the team. Consider this, if it were not for the cap environment, whould Girardi and Staal still continue to play for the team. The answer is no. They would have been gone long ago. Also consider that in my opinion, they have been responsible for our playoff losses beginning with the Stanley Cup final against the Kings.
      So what would you prefer, to lose these players or to continue to observe the coaching staff make bad choises, the deteriorated play of their defensive partners. Or most importantly to watch them turn sure Wins into heart breaking losses. The Girardi, Staal dilemma is multi facited, it is entwined into the fabric of the team, from management, to players and team leadership, to us fans. For our overall sake, if trades are not an option, I would strongly consider the buyout.

  • May 22, 2017 at 8:23 am

    it is time to get this defense a little younger keep Staal and buy Dan out and build the defense around the kids

  • May 22, 2017 at 10:17 am

    buy out staal
    g’s NMC is undone in July
    trade him at acceptable cost to cap dweller

  • May 22, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    Another piece of information to point out:

    When you actually add up the total amount of the buyouts and actual salary paid by buying out, the Rangers would save almost $10 million in salary actually paid and about $9 million in total in cap space over the life of the contracts. To me its a no brainer to buy out both just based on that alone.

  • May 23, 2017 at 8:55 am

    buy out girardi and make him the defensive coach ship buk to hartford

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