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.
Jeff Gorton continues to cross things off his to-do list, this time inking RFA defenseman Dylan McIlrath. The deal is for one-year at $600,000. McIlrath needs to clear waivers this year (as does Lindberg), so this is a definitive “show me” deal. Show me that you can play at the NHL level.
McIlrath, the Rangers oft-criticized 1st round pick in 2010, showed significant improvements last season, but is still viewed by many as a long shot for the NHL. He’s not going to light the lamp, but the Rangers are hoping he can play a decent stay-at-home game while serving as a brutal physical force. Skating will be his biggest issue.
Last week I hypothesized about how the Rangers could make up for the 38 goals they lost when Carl Hagelin and Martin St. Louis departed and determined that there were plenty of reasons for optimism including Keith Yandle’s potential impact on the power play and improved production from young forwards. Then I began wondering about how having different luck could change things.
Luck has become a buzzword since the emergence of the #fancystats movement, with many theorizing that a team and player’s goal scoring totals could fluctuate wildly due as much to dumb luck as anything else. PDO is the most commonly used new stat to evaluate overall luck, but since the Rangers still have Henrik Lundqvist in goal, I’m not too worried about their luck changing on that side of the puck.
The Rangers have re-signed one of their four NHL RFAs, locking up Emerson Etem to an undisclosed contract. Etem’s qualifying offer was $850,500 for a one year deal, but it is unknown if he accepted that deal (unlikely) or the Jeff Gorton negotiated a two-year bridge deal. I projected Etem to come in around $1 million just this afternoon, so it will be interesting to see what he got.
Etem was acquired at the draft for Carl Hagelin, and has a line of 15-16-31 in 112 games thus far. The former first round pick has a lot of talent, but has yet to put it all together.
Update: Apparently Etem signed his one year qualifying offer, at a cap hit of $850,500. Did not expect that.
The New York Rangers have agreed to terms with another restricted free agent in Hartford (Marek Hrivik was the first), this time around it was Oscar Lindberg. Lindberg put up 28-28-56 in 75 games with the Wolf Pack last season, and would have been a call up in the playoffs had Hartford not made a run.
Lindberg is probably Hartford’s best skater, and is a likely front runner for the 12F spot (assuming Tanner Glass is the 13F). Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but it will be a relatively cheap contract.
Update: Lindberg’s deal is two years at a $650,000 cap hit.
While all the attention lately has been on Derek Stepan and his arbitration hearing, there are three other key RFAs that need to be signed to fill out the roster. Perhaps the most important aspect of signing Emerson Etem, J.T. Miller, and Jesper Fast –who will all be getting bridge deals– is that they are going to be relatively cheap bridge deals, and will help the Rangers stay under the cap.
All three forwards are coming off their entry level deals, and all none of them have much leverage. Miller and Fast didn’t crack the NHL with any regularity until this season when they both found key roles on the Rangers. Etem still hasn’t found a regular role and, despite his talents, has spent a lot of time on the fourth line. That doesn’t make for much bargaining power.