The financial fallout from the Rick Nash trade

On top of avoiding surrendering prized young players like Derek Stepan and Michael Del Zotto in yesterday’s blockbuster trade, GM Glen Sather also did an effective job of keeping the Rangers in good shape with the salary cap.

The Rangers are now on the hook for the remaining six-years, $46.8 million of the eight-year, $62.4 million contract Rick Nash inked with Columbus in 2009, but they still have plenty of room to operate.

Some thoughts on the financial impact of the deal:

  • Nash’s $7.8 million salary cap hit is actually eclipsed by the combined hits of Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov and Tim Erixon, who will count $7.825 million against the cap in 2012-2013. Of course, Columbus is getting three players for that figure whereas the Rangers will have to find bodies to replace their departed soldiers, but New York still has nearly $13.4 million available in relation to the $70.2 million summer cap figure.
  • Sather noted that Anisimov is set to be a restricted free agent next summer and will surely command a raise.  So far Anisimov has been unable to put it all together, but if he breaks 50 points this season he could double his salary.  That’s down the road, but Nash could end up being significantly cheaper than Dubinsky and Anisimov.
  • Nash’s $7.8 million cap hit is currently the fifth highest in the league behind only Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Eric Staal.  While few would argue that he’s actually one of the top-five talents in the NHL, there’s no doubt that he would have garnered one of the 10+ year contracts worth around $100 million signed by Sidney Crosby, Ryan Suter, Zach Parise and Shea Weber this summer if he was a free agent.  It’s definitely preferable to pay a player a few hundred thousand dollars more a year than it is to save that cash and be married to that player for the next 13 years.
  • The $7.8 million cap hit is a massive chunk of the pie no matter how you slice it and we won’t really know where New York stands financially until the new CBA is negotiated.  Right now the Blueshirts appear to be in solid shape going forward, but if the salary cap is lowered to somewhere around $55 million, then New York may face problems in the near future.
  • That’s because Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin and Ryan McDonagh are scheduled to be restricted free agents next summer while Marian Gaborik, Ryan Callahan, Brian Boyle, Chris Kreider, Dan Girardi and Henrik Lundqvist are on track to hit the market in 2014.  Many of those players could be in position for hefty raises, meaning things could get a little sticky.
  • It’s particularly noteworthy that Gaborik will be an unrestricted free agent in 2014.  The Rangers may not have the luxury of choosing whether to re-sign him or not depending on the new CBA and the salary increases of homegrown players over the next two seasons.  However, Gaborik will be 32-years-old by 2014 and the Blueshirts may already be expecting to cut ties with the oft-injured Slovakian once his current contract expires.  By 2014, Kreider will hopefully have developed into a dynamic scoring option and the Rangers may be comfortable moving forward with Nash and Kreider as their top scoring threats, in addition to some of the offensively gifted prospects in the pipeline.
  • The Blueshirts are getting Nash for what should be the full duration of his prime.  The 28-year-old is locked up until he turns 33, meaning the Rangers will actually be in position to control a player for his best years and then decide whether or not to keep him around as he enters the twilight of his career.
  • The Rangers still have plenty of cash left to make other moves.  The team has yet to re-sign Michael Del Zotto and Anton Stralman and we know that they’re still in pursuit of Shane Doan.  They still have the cash to make all that happen, but the acquisition of Nash may limit New York’s ability to give Doan a deal more than two years long because of the anticipated costs of their own free agents in 2013 and 2014.