Archive for Offseason
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.
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.
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→
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.
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 www.hockeyscap.com.
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.
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.
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|
|$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.
When the Rangers started the season, there were many questions about which kids would make a significant impact on the big club. Kevin Hayes made the club out of camp, but his transition to center in the NHL was going to be a long road and there were times when he sat as a healthy scratch. Jesper Fast was yo-yo’d a few times this season before finally sticking around December. J.T. Miller received the same treatment.
By the time the Rangers started rolling in December, Hayes, Miller, and Fast had become the three rookie staples in the lineup. Hayes had been impressing everyone –literally everyone, as I don’t think there’s one person who believes the Rangers rushed him– as he adapted to the NHL and the rigors of the center position. He got better each and every game, first focusing on defense and positioning.
Hayes put up a modest 6-11-17 in the first four months (46 games). But once February came, Hayes turned up the scoring, notching 11 goals, 17 assists, and 28 points in the final 35 games. With Derick Brassard and Derek Stepan holding down the top two center spots, Hayes turned even his fiercest doubters into his largest supporters.
With a full weekend to cope with the Rangers losing Game 7, the time has come to shift gears. As Chris mentioned yesterday, we are going to spend the next few weeks discussing the draft, free agency, the roster, and key decision the Rangers need to make this summer. We will also be talking about what went right for the Rangers, and what they lacked. Chris also started this discussion yesterday.
The salary cap for next season is expected to be at $71.5 million, up from $69 million this past season. That doesn’t give the Rangers a lot of wiggle room to improve the team. They already have $59.5 million committed to next year, and that doesn’t include guaranteed raises to RFAs Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin, J.T. Miller, and Jesper Fast. Once those guys are under contract, the Rangers have almost nothing left.
Some times pain lingers. But we’re back. Now that the hockey season is over (how many of you truly care who wins out of Tampa and Chicago?) it’s time to look at what went wrong for the Rangers, to discuss where the team goes from here and of course to discuss what went right. We’ll give praise where it’s deserved and there’s a lot of praise to dole out on the back of a historically good season. A hugely disappointing ending doesn’t make all the good disappear and we think we’re a rational bunch on this site. So stay the course.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll discuss the draft, free agency, take a look at the roster and we’ll give you grades for the season, on every aspect of the team from Sather to Talbot. If you have any specific requests on what you want us to look at or discuss, let us know in the comments. We try and listen to you guys as much as we can (the rational ones anyway) so let us have it.
It starts today. I’ll have a look at what I think is THE most glaring omission from the roster, right now. Check back later today and of course, over the next few weeks for all your Rangers analysis. Gracias folks.