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Posts tagged: Wade Redden

Buyout Period Begins, Who are the Candidates?

Today marks Day One of the 15 day buyout period for NHL contracts. Teams have until June 30 to decide if they will buy players out. Spector at FOX Sports looks at each teams’ buyout candidates, and mentions Wade Redden and Michal Rozsival as potential candidates for the Rangers. Unfortunately, it is very unlikely that Redden will be bought out, and this has been discussed ad nauseam here and around the Rangers community.

While buying out Rozsival has only been discussed once here , it’s far less restrictive than buying out Redden. With a cap hit of $2 million or less for three of the four buyout years (a cap hit of $3 million for the other year), this is a far more likely scenario from a monetary standpoint. However, the coaching staff and management are happy with Rozsival, and it was shown by giving him the ‘A’ when Ryan Callahan was out of the lineup at the end of the season. While buying out Redden is unlikely from a monetary standpoint, buying out Rozsival is equally unlikely from a coaching/management standpoint.

When looking at the buyout period realistically, the only candidate that could or would be bought out would be Aaron Voros. Of course, buying out Voros doesn’t provide much cap relief, just $600,000 in extra space this season ($400,000 cap hit), and a $300,000 cap hit for next season, when Voros’ contract will have expired. This doesn’t really offer much of anything for the Rangers, so expect them to be quiet from a buyout perspective. There just simply aren’t any players that can be bought out that make sense fiscally and for the betterment of the team.

Buying Out Wade Redden

With the Rangers in dire salary cap straits, the need to alleviate pressure on the cap grows everyday. The biggest cry amongst fans has been to buyout Wade Redden, who’s $6.5 million cap hit for the next four seasons is, to put it mildly, atrocious. The thought of buying out Redden is appealing, until you see what it would cost to buy him out. Per CapGeek, it is pricey, and lengthy:

Season Salary Buyout Savings Buyout Cap Hit
2010-2011 $6,500,000 $1,916,667 $4,583,333 $1,916,667
2011-2012 $6,500,000 $1,916,667 $4,583,333 $1,916,667
2012-2013 $6,500,000 $1,916,667 $3,083,333 $3,416,667
2013-2014 $6,500,000 $1,916,667 $3,083,333 $3,416,667
2014-2015 $0 $1,916,667 $-1,916,667 $1,916,667
2015-2016 $0 $1,916,667 $-1,916,667 $1,916,667
2016-2017 $0 $1,916,667 $-1,916,667 $1,916,667
2017-2018 $0 $1,916,667 $-1,916,667 $1,916,667

So if the Rangers were to buyout Redden, they would be paying him until the end of the 2017-2018 season. That’s a full eight seasons of Wade Redden, as opposed to the four remaining. The buyout of Redden may not seem like much, but paying $2 million for someone that’s not on the team for the next eight years isn’t exactly ideal. Also, because of the structure of Redden’s contract, that $2 million becomes $3.4 million for two seasons.

From a business standpoint and from a hockey operations standpoint, buying out Redden simply does not work because it is just too expensive. The only option that makes sense from a hockey operations sense is to demote Redden, but that is unlikely to happen due to varying reasons, especially when there may have been pressure to play him. The Rangers desperately need salary cap space, but it looks like it may have to come from another method.

Pressure to Play Redden?

Surely by now you have all read coach John Tortorella’s comments on breakup day. For those of you that have not, I’m going to quote what I’m analyzing in this post, with the bolded sections being of more importance:

“I’ve talked to Glen about this. I’d like to see us get younger. I’d like to see us add to our core and grow together. And then we’re not adding 10 pieces this year. I think that’s important. I think Henrik’s at an important time of his career; I think we’ve got Gaborik who’s a legitimate star—I don’t like the way he has played in big games; I think he still needs to cross the line there and play better in big games. But we’ve got some pieces here. I think Rozsival has grown his game to be more competitive. So there’s some good things with the core. But I think we need to add to it with some youth, and grow it together.”

Said he would have liked to have been able to use Weise, and not sure about how Grachev’s year went, would like to see more of Potter. “Again, I’d love to get younger.”

Now, one can read this quote two ways. First, you have the obvious of what he is stating: he would like to get younger, but he feels he has a core of veterans that should be sticking around. He specifically mentions Michal Rozsival by name as a player in that core. He also mentions specific players that would help make the team younger, specifically Dale Weise and Corey Potter. I will analyze more of this a little more in a separate post.

Before I begin, I want to make it well known that this is not about Wade Redden the person. From what I understand, Redden is a very nice, very likable guy. This is about Redden the symbol, the symbol that ownership and management may have really “screwed the pooch” on this one. The symbol that there may be more to the coaching selections for defense than what meets the eye. Again, this is not about Wade Redden the person.

What I notice here is that Wade Redden was not mentioned. Clearly, through other quotes, Tortorella and Redden do not see eye to eye, and it it abundantly clear that Torts does not want Redden on the team next year. I am just speculating here, but reading in between the lines of what Tortorella has said; why would Tortorella continue to play Redden if he wants to see more of Corey Potter? Potter is NHL ready, and Redden was having a horrible year.

Now again, I am just speculating here, but it could be possible that upper management and ownership was pressuring the coaching staff into playing Redden. This scenario would certainly answer a lot of questions that Rangers fans have regarding Redden, his play, and the seventh defenseman. If ownership was indeed pressuring the coaches to play Redden, then the seventh defenseman would have been both unnecessary and a huge risk. Should the seventh defenseman, specifically Potter, play better than Redden, Rangers fans would absolutely mutiny when Redden is inserted back into the lineup.

The Rangers front office and coaching staff are reaching an important juncture in their relationship. If management wants John Tortorella to stick around, then his input on the roster decisions is going to have to be honored. It cannot be any clearer that Torts does not want Redden around. From my speculation, it seems clear that ownership is not ready to call the Wade Redden Experiment a failure just yet. With continued pressure to play the struggling defenseman, is it possible for this Rangers team to be better than mediocre? Can the Rangers improve their situation without dumping Redden’s contract? Unless you can predict the future, the answer to that question is simply unknown. What is know, however, is that ownership and the coaching staff are divided on this issue. The 2010 offseason could be the offseason that defines the Rangers organization for years to come, whichever way this situation is resolved.

What If: Redden Gets Demoted?

With the Rangers seemingly out of the playoffs, thoughts are turning to the future, and how to make the Rangers a better team for both next season and beyond. Unfortunately, the Rangers are in a very bad spot with the salary cap, due in large part to the contract given to Wade Redden. This is not a post to bash Redden, as he would be a serviceable sixth defenseman if signed to the right price. I am sure he is a nice guy. The problem is that General Manager Glen Sather signed him to one of the most absurd contracts in recent memory. The contract, with another four years and $23 million ($6.5 million cap hit) remaining, is simply untradeable. Since NHL contracts are guaranteed, the Rangers are left with few options to rid themselves of this contract and alleviate their current salary cap situation.

Most fans realize that Redden won’t be traded, and that the only way the Rangers will get rid of the albatross contract is to either demote him or buy him out. Buying him out leaves the Rangers with a smaller cap hit (anywhere from $2 million to $4 million, depending on the season), but that cap hit is spread out for the next eight seasons. To make a comparison, the Rangers buying out Wade Redden would be extremely similar to the Islanders buying out Alexei Yashin. For those wondering, the Islanders are still paying Yashin, and will continue to do so for the next six seasons.

That leaves the Rangers with one viable option, and that is sending Redden to the minors. Waiving him will have some immediate positives, including clearing the full $6.5 million on the cap, opening up a spot on the blue line for some youth, or opening up a spot for a different, more effective free agent. What many don’t realize is that there are some negatives to waiving Redden.

Read about the negatives after the jump

Notes From Last Night

I was at last night’s game, but arrived late because I was watching the Jets game nearby. Just a few things I noticed from last night’s game:

  • Wade Redden fought?
  • That was a hell of an offensive explosion in the last 40 minutes of the game. I wonder what Torts said to the team.
  • Did Wade Redden really fight?
  • Ryan Callahan is here to stay. This kid may not be a point-per-game guy, but I’ll take 40 points a year with the way he plays the game. He will be the captain of this team when Drury leaves.
  • Did Wade Redden actually win a fight?
  • Last night’s game was as scrappy as they come. It looked like there was a lot of bad blood between these two teams. I can’t wait until they play each other again.
  • Did Wade Redden really get a cheer from the crowd for his fight?
  • What a stupid penalty by Avery that led to the Gionta goal. Stupid stupid penalty. They need to stop doing that.
  • I can now say I witnessed a Wade Redden fight.
  • Let’s hope this six-goal outburst wasn’t an illusion. The last time the Rangers had an outburst like this (seven in a row against Columbus), they lost the next three by a combined score of 18-6.

Wade Redden won a fight!

Update 11:35am: Here’s the Redden fight:

More Waive Redden Rumors

This past June, Bruce Garrioch wrote that the Rangers were considering waiving Wade Redden. I wrote a quick post on it, but nothing ever came from it. We still have to deal with $6.5 million to play for 14 minutes a game. It is what is.

In his January 10 article, Garrioch (Malkin to the Kings!) mentions that the Rangers are intensifying their talks of waiving the troubled defenseman:

There has been talk the Rangers are going to place D Wade Redden on waivers and then send him to the their AHL affiliate in Hartford. There is nothing to stop the Rangers from doing that because Redden has a limited no-trade clause, but he doesn’t have a restrictive no-movement clause. Signed to a six-year, $39-million deal on July 1, 2007, the Rangers have tried to deal Redden, but haven’t been able to find any takers. Even if New York GM Glen Sather did want to deal Redden, he’d have to get a list from the defenceman of eight teams where he doesn’t want to go.

Garrioch is correct in all his details. Redden has a limited no-trade clause, not a no-movement clause. A NTC does not protect Redden from being waived. Should the Rangers waive Redden and call up Ilkka Heikkinen, then they would be adding approximately $3 million in prorated cap room until the end of the season, not to mention the $6.5 million saved for the upcoming years. I am still unsure what the ramifications are of buying out a player signed to a one-way deal playing in the AHL. I am assuming it is the same as a regular NHL buyout (if someone has any insight to this, please clarify). But, if the Rangers can buy out Redden with no cap penalty if he is in the AHL, then that would be the next logical move.

Yes, Garrioch reports on everything. Keep in mind that talks like these, including any trade rumors, always happen. GMs talk to each other. They check in on each other and available players. If 5% of anything talked about between GMs becomes finalized, then I’ll run naked through MSG (calm down ladies). However, the fact that this is now being reported twice, in two different seasons (off-season, regular season) adds a little bit of value to me. If the Rangers are seriously considering waiving Redden, then now would be the time to do it. Every day he sits on the roster, he is eating up precious cap space for the deadline.

Brooks: Time for Slats to Admit Mistakes

Never short on criticism of Rangers GM Glen Sather, Larry Brooks of the NY Post has called out Slats and says it’s time to admit some big mistakes.

If it is true that pride goes before the fall, then if Glen Sather is too proud to admit his mistakes in signing Wade Redden, Michal Rozsival the second time and Donald Brashear, he has no place running the Rangers any longer.

Brooks is dead on here, for the most part. It has become abundantly obvious that the Rangers are, at best, a mediocre team. It is time that Slats admits his mistakes and cuts ties with the albatross twins and Donald Brashear. Sending the albatross twins to Hartford will clear $11 million in cap room, but unfortunately sending Brashear down won’t clear his entire salary, just $100,000, as per the CBA and 35+ contracts. Clearing that $11 million will give the Rangers much needed cap room to improve the blue line in the short term during the off season, or at the trade deadline.

The Rangers will not be a better team if these three are banished, but they will not be a worse team either. Rozsival and Redden have proven time and time again that they are inconsistent and unreliable. It is truly unfortunate, as I expected Rozsival to be a rock this season. Redden was also showing signs of improvement, but his play has tapered off and he was benched for two games. Although I initially praised Brashear, he has proven me wrong, and shown that he is useless. Hey, I can’t get them all right.

Replacing Brashear is relatively easy, and can be accomplished by inserting Aaron Voros or by calling up Dane Byers for a more permanent stay. Replacing the albatross twins though, is actually harder than it seems. Ilkka Heikkinen appears to be ready to contribute at the NHL level, but it is clear that Bobby Sanguinetti needs another full season at the AHL level. Where would the Rangers get the sixth defenseman from? It’s an interesting debate, and there doesn’t appear to be an in-house solution. Maybe Mathieu Dandenault? He’s not really impressing in Hartford, he’s the best solution available thus far.

It is highly unlikely that Sather demotes any of the three, but clearing cap space is the first step to fixing the Rangers defense.

Where Sather Went Wrong (Post Lockout): Mark Streit

This will be the first part of a multi-post discussion about the decisions of General Manager Glen Sather. Sather has come under some real heat lately, as the Rangers are in what appears to be a free fall, and have no cap room to make any adjustments. The highest paid players on the Rangers have been, to be delicate, disappointing. Sather’s strength during his tenure with the Rangers has been his ability to make trades, but this does not overshadow his weakness of evaluating the market and making the best decision for the team. In this series, I will analyze where Sather went wrong, and where he lost the fans.

It was the 2008 offseason. The Rangers, in desperate need of a powerplay quarterback, were going to be key players in the free agent market. Brian Campbell was available, and at the time, the clear cut best defenseman available. Wade Redden was coming off a few poor seasons in Ottawa, but was still a premiere free agent, and was poised to get a decent sized contract. There was also Mark Streit, who was coming off a career year in Montreal, putting up 62 points in his breakout season with the Habs.

There were several problems with the Rangers decision with the Redden signing. The most glaring was the contract length and size. However, the most important, and often most overlooked, was that they chose a player based on his name and not on his past production, especially post-lockout. After a career year in 2005-2006, Redden was on a severe decline, and not just in numbers. He was getting beat by younger, faster players who were finally given free reign to skate. His production dipped, and he was booed right out of Ottawa.

Streit, on the other hand, tripled his production from 2005-2006 to 2006-2007, and doubled that in 2007-2008. All told, from his rookie year to his free agent year, Streit’s numbers improved by 600%. Streit was also going to fly under the radar, as he entered the NHL late at age 28, and was surely going to be overshadowed by the free agencies of Redden and Brian Campbell.

We all know what happened next. The Rangers went with Redden at six years at $39.5 million, and Streit later signed with the Islanders for almost half that price, at four years and $20 million. The results, of course, have been well publicized on both ends. Streit had another great year, putting up 56 points for an Islander team that finished dead last in the NHL. He also finished as a +6 for a team that essentially had no goaltender all year. Just to put some more salt in the wound, he also finished with a +18.4 GVT that season. Redden has been a disappointment so far during his tenure in New York, with a GVT 14 goals lower than Streit (+4.4), and a GVS (Goals Versus Salary) of -18.1, which was third worst in the league.

Where would the Rangers be with Streit’s production and an extra $1.5 million in cap space? It’s tough to tell. This is a basic correlation vs. causality argument. Redden is not the cause of the Rangers defensive woes, but there certainly is some correlation between his exorbitant contract, his minuscule production, and the poor team defense.

The Rangers face a tough offseason in 2010. There are some key RFA’s that need to be resigned, specifically Marc Staal, and the current cap situation is not alleviating the problem. Sather won’t be able to fleece another GM into taking a large contract. These signing mistakes are going to have long term ramifications that we haven’t even seen yet.

Chris Higgins Can’t Buy A Goal, And Other Random Thoughts

As we try to digest yet another Rangers loss, I couldn’t help but think. So here are some random thoughts coming from my mind to yours.

-Chris Higgins can’t buy a goal. Honestly. He’s been playing so well. He’s been aggressive on the forecheck. He’s creating chances. He just can’t bury the puck. And I don’t know why. I don’t know why. But,  I have a feeling that he’s going to get hot. He has to at some point. He’s playing to well.

-Lundqvist needs a break. Whether he’s been worked too hard, or whether is mind is elsewhere, having Valliquette start a couple more games cannot hurt. Hank needs to be Hank for this team to win. Right now, he’s struggling.

-Marian Gaborik is close to breaking last year’s high goal total. Markus Naslund had 24. Gabby has 21. He should break it this week.  And it hasn’t even been 30 games!

-Gaborik is why this team is better than last year. Immediately, you have a better scoring presence. Power play is imporved, markedly. This team should make the playoffs. They are better than last year. This is probably just a rough stretch.

-I miss Wade Redden.

-Bobby Sanguinetti does nothing for me.

-Chris Drury looks like a different player, in a good way. Much faster, much better skating-wise. He’s doing a hell of job on the point.

-Ales Kotalik has found his way into the doghouse.

-P.A. Parenteau is pretty good. He should stay for awhile.

-Like I said, this is a playoff team. This is just a rough (very rough) stretch. All teams go through it. If the Rangers can come out of this and get some points, everything will be okay.

Redden Out One Week

It looks like Bobby Sanguinetti is not going to be a ‘just in case’ call up. Wade Redden will be out one week, guaranteeing we will be seeing Sangs play during the three games in four night stretch beginning tonight in Tampa.

Sangs has been lighting it up in Hartford, and many fans have been calling for his recall to get Michal Rozsival out of the lineup. So you get half your wish, as he will definitely be playing. Let’s hope that training camp showing was just a blip on the radar, and not a sign of things to come.