It’s no secret that the New York Rangers are in a bit of a cap crunch. They are already deep in conversations to clear $1.45 million by trading Cam Talbot, but even that’s not enough to sign their four key RFAs. The blue line for the Rangers currently costs them $25.925 million, which is relatively absurd. Out of those contracts, the only one that seems remotely moveable is Kevin Klein.
Klein’s contract is actually pretty cap friendly, with three years remaining at a $2.9 million cap hit. What makes him more appealing for budget teams is that after Klein’s $3 million salary this year, it drops to $2.75 million for the last two years of the deal. That makes him even more marketable to budget teams that need to save money every step of the way.
Klein is coming off a career year, where he scored nine goals and added 17 assists for 26 points. He also finished a whopping +24, which for some reason still means something to some GMs. For the first three months of the season, Klein was arguably the Rangers’ best defenseman.
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→
Two quick rumors for you this morning:
- Larry Brooks has noted the Rangers are out of the running for free agent defenseman Mike Reilly, who went unsigned by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Reilly was a fourth round pick of the Jackets, and has the potential to be a second pairing guy with great PP skills. Oh well, this was always a long shot.
- Darren Dreger noted that Cam Talbot is drawing significant interest from the Oilers, Flames, Sharks, Stars, and Panthers. This works in the Rangers favor, as they can get a bit more for Talbot than initially anticipated. Talbot’s performance while filling in for Henrik Lundqvist is the reason for the interest, but the contract is also playing a large role. It may actually be possible for the Rangers to land a first round pick in a trade, which I didn’t think to be possible prior.
As we start getting deeper into the draft, it becomes slightly more difficult to predict when a certain player will be drafted. However, in round 3 there should be a few players that the Rangers should absolutely try to draft, whether he is there at their pick or if a trade happens on draft weekend will give them another pick.
Conor Garland, RW- How many of you really hate Tyler Johnson right now? How many of you want him on the Rangers? Conor Garland could be just like him. Garland is a right handed forward that hasn’t been lucky in terms of the draft. He was eligible last season and put up 54 points in 51 games, but wasn’t drafted due to size (5’8). If there is one thing that really frustrates me about the draft, especially in the new NHL where speed and skill are everything, it is that some teams would rather draft a bigger, less skilled player over one with a boat load of talent just because he is small.
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.
So how did the other former Blueshirts do this year? Let’s take a look:
One Team’s Trash Is Another Team’s Treasure
Jaromir Jagr – 77 gp, 17 g, 30 a, 11 ppp, 17:34 ATOI
He just won’t quit! The 43-year-old was having a relatively quiet season in New Jersey before exploding for almost a point per game with Florida after coming over at the trade deadline. Jagr re-signed with the Panthers immediately following the season because Florida was so thrilled with Jagr’s positive influence on the Panthers’ young stars.
Ryan Callahan – 77 gp, 24 g, 30 a, 16 ppp, 17:44 ATOI
His limited playoff productivity notwithstanding, Callahan has earned endless praise from Lightning coach Jon Cooper for his trademark work ethic and leadership. Callahan did most of his scoring flanking Steven Stamkos this season, but found himself in more of a checking role during the playoffs. Tampa Bay has plenty of cheap talent, but you wonder if the Lightning is going to be thrilled to pay Callahan $5.8 million a year moving forward. Read More→
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.
Another day, another dump of rumors. Today the rumors are on Rick Nash and Phil Kessel:
- Elliotte Freidman speculated that he can see Buffalo targeting Rick Nash. Tim Murray likes to make a splash, and has the assets to turn Buffalo around pretty quickly. He acquired Evander Kane using some of those assets. I put this under speculation and just spit-balling, as opposed to an actual rumor.
- Friedman also noted that Cam Talbot is the #1 choice of teams looking for cap-friendly potential starters. Good news for the Rangers.
- Phil Kessel has listed the Rangers as one of eight teams he will accept a trade to. The Rangers have no cap space. This isn’t happening.
It has been around two weeks since our beloved New York Rangers were knocked out in 7 games against the Tampa Bay Lightning. For most the loss still stings and is still tormenting us. Not being able to watch the Rangers is rough, but luckily for us it is still early in the off-season. This means there is quite a bit to talk about, such as the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
For those who have not been following the draft, this draft has been compared to the ’03 entry draft where you could have been blind folded, with names of draft eligible prospects on a dartboard and when you threw a dart you would end up with an NHL All Star (I guess you can say maybe we are lucky we do not have a first so we don’t draft a Hugh Jessimen incarnate). Luckily, the Rangers have a 2nd round pick this year because this round is loaded with talent. I will be briefly discussing some targets I hope the Rangers draft in the 2nd round that I have personally watched.
I will be splitting these targets into 3 tiers with 3 players from each tier; Early 2nd round (31-40), Mid 2nd round (41-50) and Late 2nd round (51-61*) because with so many trade rumors surrounding the Rangers this summer we may as well look at all possibilities.
* Because the Blackhawks lost Kevin Hayes they received an extra pick in the draft as compensation giving the 2nd round 31 picks.