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?
The Edmonton Oilers have announced that they will raise a banner at Rexall Place to honour current Rangers President and now former Rangers general manager Glen Sather. Sather was, of course, the architect behind the Oilers dynasty in the 80’s.
The ceremony will take place on Dec. 11 before the game the same night against the Rangers. Sather coached the Oilers to four Stanley Cup championships. Sather has obviously been a polarizing figure for Rangers fans but no one can deny the impact he had on the Oilers so the banner raising is certainly well deserved.
The Rangers appear to be done for the summer, with just Derek Stepan the lone remaining checkbox on new GM Jeff Gorton’s list of to-dos. But there are always little moves that can be done to improve the roster, and one of those moves could be bringing in free agent winger Alex Semin on the cheap.
Semin was just bought out of the last three years of his deal in Carolina, a deal that paid him $7 million a year. The buyout will pay him $2.3 million until 2021. Due to this, folks are assuming Semin may be more willing to accept a one-year deal for under $2 million. While this may or may not be true, there is no denying that Semin’s talent at that cost could be a steal.
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→
Four questions for this week’s mailbag. As always, use the mailbag feature on the right to send us questions throughout the week.
Q: What do you think Derek Stepan is worth? What will he actually get?
I had to trim this question down a bit, since the email had about five paragraphs. I think Stepan is worth that $7 million number that seems to scare everyone. If you think about this in percent of cap, that’s 10% of the cap. I certainly think Stepan is worth that. As cap inflation, which is a real thing, rises, then the percent of that hit goes down. It may not go down much, but the alternative is to trade him? For what? This team is in win-now mode for good reason, and Stepan-Brassard-Hayes-Moore is a lot better than Brassard-Hayes-Lindberg-Moore.
In the end, I think he gets $6 million for his last two RFA years, matching what Ryan O’Reilly got in his last two RFA years, then an average of $7 million for the last four years. That averages out to $6.67 million per year. Well worth it for a 25 year old center, and the contract expires when he’s 31 years old.
Much discussion has been had about Derek Stepan and his pending arbitration on July 27. I took a stab at predicting his contract, but that was before the Ryan O’Reilly deal ($7.5m AAV, all UFA years) and Ryan Kesler ($6.875m, all UFA years) were signed. The ROR deal doesn’t help matters at all, especially since Stepan and ROR are almost identical in terms of production and role.
Stepan is the better player than Kesler, but Kesler has name brand value. Kesler’s deal actually helps the Rangers, because he is perceived as the better player, although that is far from the truth nowadays.
I think Stepan gets $6 million for his two remaining RFA years (equal to what ROR got for his final RFA years). I think that gets bumped to an average of $7 million for the UFA years signed, and let’s shoot for four years. That puts Stepan at six years and $40 million, or a $6.67 million cap hit. Just my updated guess.
So what do you think Stepan is worth? Personally, I think he’s worth north of $7 million, which is 10% of the cap. I prefer to look at things in terms of percent of cap, since cap inflation is absolutely real. As the cap increases, Stepan’s deal will count towards less percent of the cap, thus making it a relative bargain. Plus, he’s 25 now, so it’s not like the Rangers are buying his 30-year-old years.
Jeff Gorton has just one more RFA to re-sign (Derek Stepan), as he has inked RFA defenseman Mat Bodie to a one-year, $575,000 deal. Bodie’s QO was actually abode $900,000, but he took less at the NHL level to gain more of an AHL salary ($80,000, up from $70,000). This is a smart move on Bodie’s part, as he is likely to spend this year in the AHL. The Rangers have seven defensemen at the NHL level, and Dylan McIlrath/Brady Skjei appear to be ahead of him on the depth chart.
Bodie put up 5-27-32 in his first season in the AHL last year. He was signed as an undrafted UFA out of Union College.
Also, worth noting that War-On-Ice has the Marek Hrivik contract details: one year at $575,000. Hrivik also got a nice bump at the AHL level, going from $65,000 to $80,000.
Happy Friday, BSB community! You’ve read the entries, made your choice known, so now it is time to announce the winners of our 2015 Off-Season Plan Contest. I just wanted to once again take this opportunity to thank everyone who participated. If you guys and gals have any ideas or suggestions about this contest or any other reader engagement activities, make sure to drop us a line on the side bar. Without further delay, your winners…
In third place, last year’s champion, Tommy Tabasco!
In second place, Matt Hamilton!
And your Winner, with a staggering 50% of the final vote: Hatrick Swayze!
Congratulations on a tremendous and very funny piece of work, Hatrick! Look forward to a guest post from Mr. Swayze in the near future. Feel free to use this thread to congratulate our finalists, offer up suggestions for Hatrick’s guest post, continue to discuss Chris’ piece from yesterday or any other Ranger related topics.
Although we are starting to hit the dog days of the off-season, keep it locked right here as Derek Stepan’s contract situation heats up and final roster machinations start to come into focus. Remember, only 66 more days until hockey is back!
‘Tis the season. It’s that time of year when teams look to lock up their free agents and it’s the time of year when a lot of long term deals get hammered out. The latest of those long term deals came this week as Ryan Kesler signed a 6 year pact with the Ducks for 41.25m. Kesler is a quality two way center and for a while, exactly what the Rangers would have liked at the 2C spot.
While Kesler is clearly at a different point in his career, he does offer some reflection on the Derek Stepan situation. Kesler averages around 50-55 points for his career and plays a very good two way game. He’s had good playoff success and with his reputation even $6.8m per year appears a team friendly deal for the Ducks – at least in the short term. Could the Rangers refer to Kesler in the Stepan negotiations?
Jeff Gorton keeps on impressing, signing two more RFAs in Jesper Fast and J.T. Miller. Miller surprised a few by taking his qualifying offer of one year at $874,130. Fast signed a two year deal worth $950,000 per season. which is exactly what I had him pegged at. Gorton’s ability to get both Miller and Etem to sign their QOs should be seen as a tremendous victory, as the Rangers now have ample cap space to get Derek Stepan under contract.
Both Miller and Fast will continue to have significant roles with the team next year.