With Derek Stepan signed, the Rangers don’t have much left to do this offseason. All their key bodies are signed, the roster is filled out, and the only thing remaining is proper training camp evaluation. In the one month since he has taken over, Gorton has made one trade and 15 signings. Let’s break them down in chronological order.
Conor Allen (was not offered QO) – This is a move that seemed to surprise a lot of people, but when you take a step back and look at the full picture, it made sense. The Rangers needed to make room for younger prospects like Calle Andersson, and the 25-year-old Allen just wasn’t doing enough to show he belonged. He may be a tweener, but he’s good enough that he should be given a look by a team that is short on defense.
Trade for Magnus Hellberg – Gorton sent a 2016 6th round pick to Nashville for the goaltender, who will likely serve as the starter in Hartford when the season starts. Mackenzie Skapski (hip) and Cedrick Desjardins (knee) will both miss the start of the year. Hellberg is young, and will be working with Benoit Allaire. It’s never a bad thing to have options.
Two questions this week. As always, submit your questions using the form on the right, and we will answer them in our weekly mailbag.
asfjr asks: With the possibility of expansion coming in the next 2 or 3 years, what rules are there for protecting players with NMC/NTC? Say expansion happens after the 15/16 season, would the Rangers be required to protect Marc Staal since he will still have an NMC, but still be able to expose Dan Girardi since he will only have an NTC?
Now this is an interesting question that I simply can’t answer right now. There are no provisions in the current CBA that account for an expansion draft, so this is something that would need to be negotiated by the league and the union. When expansion is approved by the Board of Governors (and yes, it’s a when, not an if), then this will be a hot topic.
No-move clauses are designed to protect against any involuntary movement, meaning trades or demotions. However, there are varying degrees. Take Derek Stepan: He has a full no trade for part of his deal, and a limited no-trade for part of his deal, but he has full no-move throughout. What I am interpreting this to mean is when his NTC goes from full to limited, his NMC will protect him from a demotion. A full NTC and NMC covers everything. A limited NTC and a full NMC covers demotions and limited trades. That’s just my guess though.
A few prospect notes to round out your Friday:
- Calle Andersson, the Rangers 4th round pick in 2012, will leave Sweden and play in Hartford next year. I said that Andersson could be a sleeper, and coming over to North America shows he is ready for the next step in his development.
- Cameron Askew, Jerret Smith, and Mark Simpson are three players that will be invited to play on the Rangers Traverse City Tournament team this year. Credit to Adam Herman for consolidating that information.
- The Wolf Pack have re-signed forward Shawn O’Donnell. The 27-year-old will provide nice forward depth for the Pack.
A week ago, I alluded to new features that would be coming to the blog soon. Today, we are happy to announce that we have partnered with The Sporting News to bring video content here to BSB. There is a new page in the menu called ‘Videos’ which will take you to the video page, where you can select your videos. Over the next few days, Sporting News will have preview videos coming for all teams around the league. When the season starts, they will be bringing us highlights that will surely enhance our goal breakdowns.
Hope you all enjoy the new feature.
Derek Stepan signed yesterday, as new GM Jeff Gorton fit the final piece of the offseason puzzle into place. Stepan’s deal came in at six years, $39 million ($6.5 million cap hit). The deal has a full no trade for the first four years, and then a limited no trade for the final two (I believe). Stepan has a no-move clause throughout, meaning he can’t be sent to the AHL.
- This is a solid deal for both sides. There is no doubt that Stepan left money on the table, probably about $300k per year, or $1.8 million total. That’s no small amount. The deal fits under the cap for this year and in the future, and locks up their 1C through age 31. As for Stepan, he ensures he gets at least one more big payday when this contract expires.
- A few folks have issues with the length of the deal, but I don’t quite understand that. If Stepan were 30, then I would understand. But the kid is 25, and this deal locks up his prime years. The decline starts in the mid-30s, not the mid-20s.
The New York Rangers have agreed to terms with RFA center Derek Stepan on a multi-year contract. Per Larry Brooks, it is a six year deal worth $6.5 million per year. This makes Stepan the second highest paid skater on the Rangers (Rick Nash) at just 25 years old. The deal expires when Stepan is 31, so the Rangers are locking up Stepan’s prime years at a relative bargain price. The deal has a no-trade clause for the early years and a no-move clause for the last years.
Stepan put up a career high pace last year, with a line of 16-39-55 in 68 games. Stepan missed the first 14 games of the season with a broken fibula, the first injury of his career that forced him to miss regular season time. When you average that out to 82 games, he was on pace for 19 goals and 66 points.
Just a quick update on the Derek Stepan arbitration process: The Rangers have elected a one-year arbitration award for Stepan. If this goes to arbitration, Stepan will get a one-year deal, meaning he will be an RFA next year as well. This isn’t all that surprising, as it ensures the Rangers get one more crack at a long term deal.
Again, this likely isn’t getting to arbitration. I’m expecting both sides to come to terms this afternoon. The Rangers submitted a $5.2 million offer, while Stepan submitted $7.25 million. Since the numbers are pretty close in arbitration, it’s a fair assumption that both sides are close.
Derek Stepan’s arbitration date is tomorrow, and he will be the talk of Rangerland until the day he signs. So here are some things to expect to hear over the next two days.
1. Everyone will flip out over Stepan’s asking price.
Stepan is asking for $7.25 million in arbitration. Insert rage here.
In reality, Stepan’s asking price is actually reasonable. He’s worth more than that on the open market, but for some reason people have an aversion to signing homegrown players to large contracts. The kid is 25 years old and was on a 66 point pace over a full 82 games. He did this while dragging around a 41-year-old and clearly lost it Martin St. Louis on his line.
2. No one will have an issue with the Rangers’ price.
Just one question this week, but it’s an important one. As always, you can submit questions for the mailbag by using the form on the right.
Tyler asks: Do you think Kreider’s next contract will be close to Gustav Nyquist deal? I’d say those two are pretty close comparables.
That’s a difficult question to answer at the moment, since this season will play a large role in the contract Chris Kreider receives. This year, Kreider has a cap hit of $2.475 million, but is getting $2.6 million in salary. That means his qualifying offer will be $2.6 million. Nyquist’s new deal is four years at a $4.75 million cap hit.
Nyquist will turn 26 when the season starts, so his new contract buys two RFA years and two UFA years. Kreider will turn 25 in April 2016, so his new contract will also buy two RFA years, with any remaining term buying UFA years. Remember that unrestricted free agency is determined by the age of the player in June of the offseason, so Nyquist’s late birthday actually hurts him here.
In news that pretty much surprised everyone, Lou Lamoriello has resigned as President of the New Jersey Devils, and has joined the Toronto Maple Leafs as their General Manager. Lamoriello stepped down as Devils GM this summer, paving the way for Ray Shero to take over that role. Toronto had been without a GM all summer, with Kyle Dubas and Mark Hunter performing most of the work.
My guess is that Lamoriello will be serving as a mentor for Dubas and Hunter until they are ready to take over the role full time. They’ve both done a great job with free agency and the draft, so I doubt Lamoriello messes with that.