Business of Hockey

Predicting the two amnesty buyouts for the Rangers

Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images
Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images

News broke yesterday that the NHL and the NHLPA had agreed to two amnesty buyouts before the 2013-2014 season. One buyout will be allowed before the start of this season –if it happens– with the second occurring before the start of the 2013-2014 campaign. The owners appear to be dead-set against a cap higher than $60 million for 2013-2014, so multiple teams will need to use both buyouts to get to that number.

The first buyout for the Rangers will have to be Wade Redden. The new CBA will not allow teams to bury bad contracts in the AHL, so Redden’s full $6.5 million cap hit will be on the books. This one is a no-brainer. Redden, much like Scott Gomez in Montreal, will be bought out. That’s the easy one to guess.

The Rangers may need to use that second buyout to stay under that $60 million cap for 2013-2014. Of the players currently signed, the organization will not be looking to buyout either of their goaltenders, Rick Nash, Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards, Ryan Callahan, Chris Kreider, Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, or Stu Bickel. These guys are either cheap (Bickel), part of a group that the Rangers need to win (everyone else), or both (Girardi).

That leaves Taylor Pyatt ($1.55 million), Mike Rupp ($1.5 million), Anton Stralman ($1.7 million), Arron Asham ($1 million), and Brian Boyle ($1.7 million) as the borderline players. It’s extremely unlikely that Boyle gets bought out, as he is one of the top defensive centers for the Rangers, and he’s also pretty solid on face offs.

Of the remaining four players, there are three giant question marks in Pyatt, Asham, and Stralman. Pyatt and Asham have never played for the Rangers, and while they come with decent pedigree, some players just don’t mesh well with others. Their performances on the ice will dictate if they stay or go. The same goes for Stralman, but he’s less of a question mark considering his play last year. The question with him is whether or not he can repeat it.

The only player that really jumps out is Rupp. I like Rupp, we are pretty big Rupp fans here. Teams need players like him. He’s a leader and someone who the coaching staff leans on heavily in the locker room. On the ice, he’s not the best, but he does what is needed to be done. The issue is that he makes $1.5 million to play about 5-7 minutes per game.

With a decreasing cap, the organization may not be able to afford to pay Rupp $1.5 million for the 2013-2014 season. In terms of dollars per ice time, Pyatt makes as much as Rupp and will be expected to be on the ice for almost double the minutes. It’s not cost-effective for the Rangers to keep a $1.5 million, fourth line winger who will play five minutes a game.

There are a lot of “ifs” right now regarding that second buyout. If it comes down to Rupp, then it’s not a move the club will want to make, but the new CBA may force their hand.

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  • All the players listed are cheap, and to buy them out, you need to replace them with a player who will take less than $1 mil per season! Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the minimum for the NHL some $500,000?

    This contract, for the long term, may be very costly to the players, and the GM’s will have to show some business savey! From now on the GM’s will have to think twice before they spend hugh amounts of money on marginal players.

    As for Redden, it’s long over due, take care Wade, we won’t miss you at all.

  • Redden’s an obvious pick to be bought out.

    Mike Rupp has to be the second candidate. I don’t know what he brings as far as locker room chemistry goes because I’ve never witnessed it, but on the ice I know what I see. There are a lot of people we could pay the league minimum to do what he does on the ice.

    If him and Asham were making the same amount maybe I take Asham, but because Rupp makes more he’s gotta go.

  • Redden is a no brainier but who says they have to buy out a second player just because they can? I’m fine with Rupp. Anyone who watched 24/7 last year got an idea of what the guy is like in the locker room and his two goals in the Classic are enough to keep him on this team in my book. And if he is bought out who would replace his spot and would it even be an upgrade besides saving about 500-750k?

    • We like Rupp here. The issue is that you can’t have a $1.5 million guy playing five minutes a night if the cap is $60 million.

    • Good point Spozo. My favorite Rupp moment was against the Devils, when their egg head coach sent goons out on the ice to rough up Arty’s line. Torts deployed Rupp and the Devils goons retreated to the bench immediately. That’s one of the reasons why this guy is on the team.

  • Unless the loophole is forbidden:
    As has already been mentioned:

    Buyout Nash and Richards and resign them…buy them out and sign them to a deal worth slightly more than the missed earnings in the original deal. New cap hit is instantly less than half. Not all teams have the cash to do this but the Rangers do. Nash and Richards are now signed long term for less than $3.5M each. Redden goes away soon enough and Gaborik only has 1 more year after this one.

    If both Nash and Ricahrds agree to this and Gaborik resigns for less money due to his age there should be more than enough cash to resign the up and coming RFA/UFA in the market under the new CBA.

    • In the last CBA you weren’t allowed to re-sign players you bought out for a full year. Would have to assume that clause will be in the new CBA.

  • Will someone please put a wake up call for just after New Years in 2014 when the NHL breaks up and a new hockey league is formed?

    Wow this lockout and the rumors coming out of it is getting lamer with each passing day. Can we jump ahead to the NHLPA dissolving and the players suing the NHL already?

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