Archive for Offseason

The New York Rangers qualified eight of their nine RFAs yesterday, meaning they will retain the rights to those eight players when free agency opens on July 1. The one RFA they did not qualify was defenseman Conor Allen, who will become a UFA. The eight RFAs qualified: Derek Stepan, J.T. Miller, Jesper Fast, Emerson Etem, Dylan McIlrath, Mat Bodie, Marek Hrivik, and Oscar Lindberg.

Danny Kristo and Jason Missiaen are Group 6 UFAs, having reached the age of 25, played three professional seasons, and had fewer than 80 (Kristo) or 28 (Missiaen) NHL games played.

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Last season, the Rangers deployed Benoit Pouliot, Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello on their third line and Derek Dorsett, Dominic Moore and Brian Boyle on the fourth for much of the season. Needless to say, depth up front was a team strength.

Thanks to the cap crunch and some head-scratching offseason moves, the bottom-six just wasn’t quite the same this year. The team spent much of the season attempting to identify a third-line scoring winger and failed to support Dominic Moore on the checking unit. But though the sum of its parts wasn’t good enough, many members of the bottom-six did have terrific seasons.

Kevin Hayes

What more could you ask for from the prized former Blackhawks first-round pick after he chose to join the Rangers last summer? Hayes really turned it on in the second-half, when it seemed like he improved every single game. Hayes has an impressive combination of size, hands and wheels, and the sky appears to be the limit for the 23-year-old. Hayes was a little quieter in the playoffs, but it’s hard to fault him for that.

Grade: A Read More→

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Salary cap ceiling set to $71.4 million

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The NHLPA announced that the upper limit of the salary cap will be set at $71.4 million for the 2015-2016 season. This is just a $2.4 million increase from last season’s $69 million ceiling. The reason for the small increase is due to the decreasing value of the Canadian Dollar.

The Rangers are in a bit of a crunch with the cap, but should be able to get their RFAs signed if they can move salary. There are other teams (Chicago, LA, Boston) with much more pressing issues.

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Rangers final grades: Defense

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Back by popular demand, we’ve decided to kick-start our annual player, coaching, and management report cards. As a reminder, these grades aren’t just based on stats, but also the execution of each personnel or player’s respective role within the organization. Obviously there’s some subjectivity here, but that’s what makes these interesting and conversational.

As always, feel free to post your own grades in the comments section below.

Dan Girardi

There’s no way to spin it. Girardi did not have a good season. While his effort was undeniably at a maximum, unfortunately his output was still a career low. This year was his worst statistical (scoring chance differential) season on record. What made matters worse was this came after a subpar performance in the 2014 playoffs.

It’s fair to point out that he may have the team’s toughest task with shutting down opposing stars and getting buried with defensive zone starts (after a whistle). However, he’s paid to break up those dangerous plays in the slot and this year he didn’t do that with any regularity. In general, I thought he just looked a step slower.

At 31 years of age, Girardi may no longer be quick enough to handle the man-on-man/overload defensive zone scheme that AV employs, especially in a top pairing role. More on that later this summer.

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Categories : Offseason, Players
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Who ya gonna call?

Who ya gonna call?

With the Draft approaching and everyone’s attention turning to off-season business, Ranger fans have fixated on a report from TSN’s Darren Dreger (here and here) regarding significant interest around the league in Cam Talbot. He is apparently the top choice for a number of teams for their goaltending vacancies; Edmonton, San Jose, Calgary, Florida, Buffalo and Dallas, have all been named as potential suitors.

This is great news for the Rangers. A short time ago, we were talking about a second round pick representing solid value for the one-time undrafted free agent. Now, there is chatter about Talbot’s value being as high as a mid-first round pick. That would be quite the coup. This development has created an interesting debate in real versus perceived value. Read More→

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Projecting Derek Stepan’s next contract

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derek stepan

Stepan (AP Photo/Bruce Bennett)

Yesterday, I looked at what Carl Hagelin’s next contract might cost the Rangers, and it came out to be maybe $250,000 more than most had him pegged. I usually guess a little higher, so that people aren’t shocked if the contract comes in higher than expected. The other expensive RFA is Derek Stepan, the Rangers top-line center. Stepan, like Hagelin, is coming off his two-year bridge deal, which paid him $3.85 million this past season, and came with a cap hit of $3.075 million.

Stepan, who turns 25 tomorrow, had a weird season. He put up 55 points (16-39-55, 3-7-10 on the powerplay). Those numbers seem to be on-par with normal expectations, but are a far cry from his pace in the lockout shortened 2012-2013 season, when he put up 18-26-44 in just 48 games. I think Stepan is a 50-60 point center, putting him in the middle range of top-line centers. Stepan is also one of the few right-handed shots on the powerplay. Stepan, like Hagelin, is also arbitration-eligible.

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Rangers RFA qualifying offers

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The Rangers have four roster players headed to restricted free agency this summer. Two (J.T. Miller, Jesper Fast) are coming off their entry-level deals, and two (Carl Hagelin, Derek Stepan) are coming off their two-year bridge deals. Per the CBA, any RFA making over $1 million must be offered the current salary. Players making between $660,000 and $1 million must be offered a 5% raise. Players below $660,000 must be offered a 10% raise. These numbers are based off base salary from their most recent season, not bonuses or cap hit.

Using that, the qualifying offers for the four roster players are as follows:

  • Derek Stepan: $3.85 million
  • Carl Hagelin: $2.4 million
  • J.T. Miller: $874,125
  • Jesper Fast: $945,000

These numbers are based off contract figures from

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Projecting Carl Hagelin’s next contract

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The Rangers are entering this offseason with four key RFAs, Carl Hagelin being one of them. Hagelin is coming off his two-year bridge deal, which paid him $2.4 million last year and came with a cap hit of $2.25 million. Hagelin’s qualifying offer is $2.4 million, meaning he won’t earn less than that. This would be Hagelin’s third contract, and the Rangers would be getting just one RFA year, and then buying out UFA years thereafter.

This past season, Hagelin put up 35 points (17-18-35) while playing on the third line at even strength. One of the interesting aspects of Hagelin’s scoring line is that he put up 34 of those 35 points at even strength, because he “stinks” on the powerplay. He also was one of the Rangers best penalty killers.

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Thoughts following the 2014-2015 season

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Happy times.

When the Rangers’ season ended almost two weeks ago, my plan was to sit down and write a “thoughts” post to give some closure to the season. It ended up taking a little more time than I expected to put the year in perspective, but I’m going to give it a go this morning. Here are my final thoughts on the 2014-2015 New York Rangers.

  • I suppose I’ll kind of give this a go in semi-chronological order, so let’s start with the off-season. I agree with Kevin, that this past summer was not Glen Sather’s finest hour. To an extent he used the “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” model. He had to cover the losses of key contributors in Anton Stralman, Brian Boyle and Benoit Pouliot, so bringing in depth was important when little cap space existed.

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2015 RFA draft pick compensation

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There has been a lot of talk about RFAs this year, as the Rangers have a bunch (Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin, J.T. Miller, Jesper Fast) heading into the offseason. But it’s also been a hot topic because teams like LA and Chicago have major cap problems with key RFAs –Tyler Toffoli and Brandon Saad, respectively– of their own. Below is the draft pick compensation for poaching an RFA.

Average annual value Compensation
Less than $1,205,377 Nothing
$1,205,377-to-$1,826,328 Third-round pick
$1,826,328-to-$3,652,659 Second-round pick
$3,652,659-to-$5,478,986 First and third-round picks
$5,478,986-to-$7,305,316 First, second and third-round picks
$7,305,316-to-$9,131,645 Two firsts, a second and third-round picks
$9,131,645 or greater Four first-round picks

I can see Hagelin potentially getting a deal that goes into that 1st/3rd round pick compensation territory, which would put the Rangers in a pretty pickle. The absolute worse case scenario for the Rangers would be Hagelin getting $3.6 million annually, meaning they would only get a 2nd round pick. Of course, electing to go to arbitration makes this point moot (Hags and Stepan are arbitration eligible).

Other than that, I can’t see a situation where the Rangers don’t match on Miller/Fast, since they likely won’t get north of $1.2 million a piece. Stepan may get $6 million, but I’m guessing that’s the budget for him anyway. Stepan/Hagelin are arbitration eligible as well, so that takes away some of the poaching appeal.

Categories : Offseason
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