Archive for Business of Hockey
Give good players time and you will be rewarded. Mats Zuccarello had to fight off traditional hockey stereotypes, climb up the Rangers cluttered depth chart and fight his way into a prominent position over a long period of time but Zuccarello eventually became one of the Rangers most reliable and cost effective players. Zuccarello’s contract is looking better every game and it’s worth looking into the value again because right now, there are few better value deals around the league.
Zuccarello is likely going to lead the Rangers in scoring for the second time in three years by season’s end. Over the past three years (going on numbers after the loss to the Red Wings) Zuccarello is averaging around 54 points per season and this is with 14 games of the current season to go.
Zuccarello is of course, in the first year of his new deal that pays him 4.5m per season. Prior to this season Zuccarello had bagged 142 points in 222 regular season games for an average of .63 points/game. This season he’s scoring at a .77 clip; a pretty significant increase.
Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, hell even Derek Stepan and Rick Nash. Right now the Rangers have a handful of contracts that – to varying degrees – aren’t offering full value and ‘value’ is über critical in the cap era NHL. However, the fact that the Rangers have a handful of big contracts on their books shouldn’t make them shy away from adding more. On the contrary. If a player is worth the investment, it’s the Rangers duty to upgrade their talent base. After that, well that is when the Rangers need to get creative, but spending big shouldn’t be a concern.
People think that salary needs to be spread out around the roster: a spread the wealth approach as it were. However, the best team in the league right now, and arguably for the past half decade, has been the Chicago Blackhawks. The Hawks have taken a significantly top heavy financial approach to staffing their roster, one that many people would have thought would lead to major depth issues yet year after year the Hawks are in contention.
In some surprising news, James Dolan is set to sell Cablevision to Altice, a European telecom giant. The deal will be for a whopping $17.7 billion. Yes, you read that number right.
It is worth noting that MSG Inc., which owns the Rangers, Knicks, Liberty, Wolf Pack, Madison Square Garden, MSG Network, and The Beacon Theater, is not included in this deal. MSG is a separately traded company, having been spun off from Cablevision in 2010. The Rangers will remain owned by James Dolan.
Happy Friday, BSB faithful. As promised, Hatrick Swayze has run the gauntlet and earned the right to contribute his learned thoughts in the form of a guest post. Thanks, Hatrick, for a seriously comprehensive piece of work. I hope you all enjoy. Ladies and gentlemen, Hatrick Swayze…
Enter Emerson Etem. [Alliteration. Capitalization. What more could you want? Oh, Carl Hagelin? Too bad for you.] While many are sour over Hagelin’s departure, and for good reason, what’s done is done. All too often in a league with hard cap restrictions, a player’s hard work, dedication and a growth under a franchise ultimately is what forces management’s hand and prices that player out. We’ve seen it with Callahan. Hagelin is the latest victim. Quite honestly, it is a good problem to have. Consider the alternatives: bad draft pedigree, players underperforming expectations, a team meandering in mediocrity. Personally, I’m very content to avoid all of the above. For better or worse, player turnover is the reality of operating in a league governed by a hard salary cap. Read More→
As expected, the New York Rangers have been relatively quiet this off season due to their cap situation. One NHL transaction that they made that can be seen as prominent is the signing of left wing Viktor Stalberg. At first, some people may have been confused over why the Rangers signed a player who played some games in the AHL to a $1.1 million contract, or why the Rangers signed him when they have young guys like Ryan Bourque and Oscar Lindberg still competing for an NHL spot. But the more I look at this the more it seems like an efficient signing by the New York Rangers.
For those who do not follow me on Twitter, I am currently working on a project that can allow fans and maybe NHL employees alike to view a player at any contract and see if he is worth it in the light of numerous stats. However, instead of talking about just millions we will be talking about cap percentage (cap%).
Why cap percentage?
A common thread among sports fans is that they’ve had a role in all of our lives, no matter how unimportant or trivial they seem in the big picture. Many of us have always been a fan, though it’s not a requirement to be a “true fan,” despite the pretentious attitudes of some people. You could like one team, many teams, many players, many plays… but you like the sport, and that’s what draws you to it.
Growing up, I was a diehard baseball fan. I practically grew up at Shea Stadium (yes, it’s still weird that it’s Citifield all these years later), buying cheap tickets in the low of the Mets lows and “sneaking” down from the loge section to catch a better glimpse of whichever scrubs the Wilpons threw together. The Mets broke my heart over and over, but I was a fan of the game and, moreso, what it meant to me. Read More→
Last year, I started with a series of posts projecting the 2014-2015 New York Rangers payroll, and they were a series of posts I enjoyed writing. So with the trade deadline passed and a large majority of players locked up for next season, projecting the 2015-2016 Rangers payroll seems like the next logical step.
Payroll is a huge concern for the Rangers, as they have a boatload of money committed to seven forwards, six defensemen, and two goalies next season. They have four key RFAs (Derek Stepan, J.T. Miller, Carl Hagelin, Jesper Fast) to re-sign, and two –Hagelin, Stepan– are going to be relatively expensive.
The 800-pound gorilla in the room is the cap ceiling. This year’s cap is at $69 million, and while everyone has been expecting a healthy increase due to increased revenue, the Canadian Dollar has been slipping, and that will be a major influencer on the cap. Most are predicting a modest increase to just $71 million, which does not do the Rangers any favors.
Let’s break down who the Rangers have signed and who their free agents are:
Once again it seemed like Rangers GM Glen Sather had little to no maneuverability under the salary cap, and once again Slats found a way to wriggle his payroll under the cap ceiling.
By exploiting a to this point little-used clause in the new collective bargaining agreement, Sather got Arizona to eat half of Yandle’s contract. Of course Sather had to sweeten his offers to persuade the Coyotes to offer financial aid, but Sather still shrewdly found a way to take on salary and improve his club when it seemed to be nearly impossible.
The Coyotes will absorb half of Yandle’s cap hit again next year, but the $2.625 million the Rangers have added to their payroll is still going to be difficult to work around given that the guys Yandle is replacing, John Moore and Matt Hunwick, counted just $851k and $600k, respectively, against the cap this season. Read More→
At last season’s trade deadline, the Rangers played chicken with their captain. Ryan Callahan was demanding a relatively outrageous contract extension that the Rangers were extremely hesitant to hand out. He was looking for top line dollars to play a well rounded, third line game. Down in Tampa, the Bolts’ long-time captain wasn’t feeling the love anymore. A first-ballot Hall of Famer left off the Olympic roster by his own GM. It was a recipe for bad blood.
Glen Sather was forced to make a choice between a legitimate top 6 upgrade or letting a homegrown, valuable player walk for nothing if his contract demands did not back down into reasonable territory. Ultimately, I still believe that Sather gave up too much ancillary value in the form of two first round picks, but such is life. The point is, it was appropriate for Sather to make that call in the middle of a competitive run. Upgrades are upgrades. Draft picks can be sorted out later. Read More→
Per Pierre LeBrun, citing Gary Bettman in a meeting with team owners, next year’s salary cap ceiling is projected to be in the $73 million range. That will be a $4 million increase (5.79%) increase on this year’s cap. Bettman stressed that this number is based on the Canadian Dollar not going down much further, Every dollar the cap goes up is critical for the Rangers, as they have five pending UFAs (St. Louis, Zuccarello, Stempniak, Staal, Hunwick) and five pending RFAs (Stepan, Hagelin, Miller, Fast, Moore).
Most of the pending free agents are due raises, specifically Derek Stepan.