For those that missed it, General Manager Glen Sather had some harsh words for holdout center Derek Stepan. Slats, in a rare moment, said that he doesn’t think [Stepan] is a big enough fool to think that he will sit out the year and it will do any good.” Naturally, that was the line that the media caught on to and ran with. The nugget right after –when Slats states that every player (forward) has signed a gap deal, and that what Stepan will get– is the more important bit. It confirms what we all know, but also puts a line in the sand in the negotiations.
First things first, Slats never called Stepan a fool. He chose his words carefully. Slats is also correct in the bridge deals, not in that every team should offer bridge deals, but in the manner that Slats approaches them. He is consistent. Every non-arbitration forward gets a bridge deal. Every single one. It’s consistency at its finest. Both Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan got paid, Dubinsky likely slightly overpaid, after their bridge deals. Callahan is the captain of the team too, and his bridge deal will likely be less than Stepan’s.
Some call what Slats said a desperation move. I call it a simple candid statement, used to send a message. Everyone else got one, you get one too. Get your head on straight and sign, and we will pay you oodles of money in two years if you continue to perform.
It signs the contract or else it gets the hose again.
Up until pre-season games start up in earnest, the fan focus around Rangerland will continue to be Derek Stepan’s unresolved contract situation. The boys around here have done a fantastic job covering the specifics, comparables and negotiating leverage surrounding the Blueshirt’s final RFA, but I wanted to examine a slightly different facet: the gaping hole in the CBA that lead to this situation to begin with.
The age in which a player signs his ELC will determine whether or not he is eligible for arbitration rights during his RFA years. Depending on how long the ELC is, a player could foreseeably have two years (though, usually just one) of RFA eligibility without receiving arbitration rights. This essentially means a player is allowed to seek “market” value (compared to other team-controlled players with no arbitration rights), but is still somewhat at the whim of the team’s valuation, with very little negotiating leverage. Read more »
Stepan > Kadri
In case you missed it, Nazem Kadri signed a two-year bridge deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs last night worth $2.9 million per season. Kadri has just 99 NHL games played –only one full season– and has a line of 23-37-63 over those 99 games. In his only full season, the lockout shortened season, Kadri put up 18-26-44. That 18-26-44 should look familiar, since it is the same line Derek Stepan put up last season. That should mean that Stepan’s market value is $2.9 million, right? Well, not exactly.
The problem is that Kadri has just one full year under his belt. He was bouncing between the AHL and NHL for the first two years of his pro career before that. Stepan cracked the roster immediately, and has three full years (without missing a game) under his belt. The point total for this year may have been the same, but Stepan has 212 NHL games played and a line of 56-84-140. That is an average of 0.66 P/G (1.91 P/60). Kadri’s average was 0.63 P/G (2.35 P/60).
Just an aside: I don’t know where I can find career –or even three-year average– P/60, which is the stat I wanted to use here. P/G isn’t terrible, but P/60 is a more accurate reflection. However, the point is still made. (Thanks George)
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The other day, I was reading one of my favorite goalie-related publications, InGoal Magazine. There was a fantastic article about some NHL tendys giving their thoughts on the new equipment sizing and some of the difficulties the changes pose. After reading the article and seeing some of the drastic reductions in size, I started thinking about the involvement of the Union and the type of representation that goalies are receiving during this type of transition.
There has been talk of allowing goalies up until the Olympic break to comply with the new rules, and further talk of revisiting the measurements in the off-season (not to see if they are effective, mind you, but to take another crack at reductions). After examining all the information from the article and investigating further into the compromise made with regard to the reduction formula, I arrived at the conclusion that goalies are not being advocated for properly in the new-NHL. Read more »
Money or success?
We knew this time was coming. Rangers’ fans knew that as the team’s window of contention began to open so would the period come where multiple essential Rangers would approach contract negotiation time. It leaves the Rangers in a sort of crossroads over the next twelve months.
With Derek Stepan still unsigned, Henrik Lundqvist, Dan Girardi and Ryan Callahan all approaching free agency, the absolute core of this team – Rick Nash aside – is in need of new deals. Whether the Rangers can afford to pay the going rate for all these players is questionable. Brad Richards’ uncertain future, the impending free agency of Anton Stralman, and a potential career year –in a contract year– for Derick Brassard also play roles in the questionable financial future for the Rangers.
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Don’t worry, there’s enough room to sign him (Photo credit: Christopher Pasatieri).
When the Rangers re-signed Mats Zuccarello the other day, the attention rightfully shifted to Derek Stepan. Many went to Capgeek and saw that the Rangers had a shade over $2 million of cap space, and began to instantly panic. After all, if Stepan’s market value is the $3.75 million that Claude Giroux received in his bridge deal (that value will be used as Stepan’s cap hit for the sake of this post), then the Rangers don’t have enough room. However, the data on Capgeek is a tad misleading.
Capgeek currently lists everyone signed to a one-way deal. Per the summer cap rules, any player that does not have a separate –and lower– AHL salary, thus the definition of a two-way deal, must count against the summer salary cap. This is why players like Aaron Johnson are currently listed on the roster. There are some nuances that I don’t quite understand — For example, why Chris Kreider counts, but JT Miller doesn’t. I seriously don’t understand that, so any answer would be helpful– but this is also the reason why each team can spend 10% over the cap ceiling each summer. For the Rangers, this means they can spend $70 million this summer, giving them ample space to sign Stepan.
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Deadspin is reporting that MSG has ten more years at its current location, and then it will likely need to find a new place to call home. MSG’s 50-year permit expired this past year, and MSG was lobbying to extend that permit. While the initial pitch was for a permanent lease on the area, the City Council voted last night, per Deadspin, to limit the new permit to ten years. The vote wasn’t even close, with the City Council voting 47-1 to limit the lease to that duration.
The timing couldn’t be worse, as James Dolan just dropped a cool $1 billion of his own money renovating the new MSG. It won’t be difficult for Dolan to make a profit off that investment, especially because it was $1 billion over three years. MSG will make that back in no time. What it does mean is that MSG will have a new home in ten years, and that the city’s plan to have a new Penn Station will finally come to fruition.
The NHLPA has announced its arbitration dates, and Mats Zuccarello’s hearing will be on July 31. Zuccarello filed for arbitration on July 10. As we noted here, this is just a part of the process. The hearing, if it takes place (remember both sides can still work out a deal), will find the middle ground between the two sides on a one-year deal.
In case you missed it yesterday, Mats Zuccarello filed for arbitration before the 5pm deadline. He and the Rangers were unable to come to an agreement before the deadline, so it makes sense that he filed for arbitration. This is just a step in the process, and does not represent any ill-will on either side. Some things to note about player-elected arbitration:
- Since he has filed for arbitration, no one can offer sheet Zuccarello anymore.
- In player elected arbitration, the team has the ability to walk away from the decision (if the salary is higher than $3.5 million). The Rangers did this with Nik Zherdev.
- Both sides can still hammer out a deal before the hearing date (date TBD).
- An arbitration filing all but guarantees that Zuccarello will be back next season, unless point #2 comes into play.
As the window to Free Agency opens in a few hours, it got me thinking about the post-lockout economic landscape and how it will affect the Rangers. I actually think it will be a blessing in disguise that the Blueshirts have almost no cap space to work with in the UFA market, with most available resources going to re-sign our own (very talented) RFA’s. Even if another team decides to take Darrell Powe and Arron Asham off our hands, there will likely still be less than three million to play with, and some of that needs to be saved for the deadline.
The biggest wild card GM’s are dealing with is the salary cap in subsequent seasons. All signs point to that cap meeting, or even exceeding the current $70.3 million cap of this past season. With six outdoor games planned for this coming year, revenue seems to be increasing at a rapid rate. The general effect of this type of revenue spike in pro sports (and especially under the new revenue sharing provisions) is that more teams find themselves competing for higher-end assets. Basic law of supply and demand will tell you that this will drive up UFA prices in the future. Read more »