Fifty contract limit may dictate Sauer’s future in New York

We may have seen the last of Michael Sauer in the NHL (Marc DesRosiers-US PRESSWIRE).
We may have seen the last of Michael Sauer in the NHL (Marc DesRosiers-US PRESSWIRE).

Michael Sauer hasn’t played a game for the Rangers since taking a clean Dion Phaneuf hit along the boards in December of last season. His absence had left the Rangers with a huge hole on the blue line until the recent acquisition of John Moore, but still leaves a physical hole that has yet to be filled. Sauer’s cap hit last season was $1.25 million, which is the same number as his qualifying offer as the defenseman enters restricted free agency.

By offering Sauer his $1.25 million QO, the Rangers retain his rights for at least the next season. They will also give themselves the opportunity to receive RFA draft pick compensation should a team sign Sauer to an offer sheet. While this is probably painful to hear, Sauer’s playing career is likely over. The team has all but said that they do not believe he will play with the Rangers –or in the NHL– again. It is truly unfortunate. But for that small chance he does play, the Rangers would be taking a risk in keeping Sauer on board.

There are a few things at play here for the Rangers and re-upping Sauer, who if offered a QO will almost certainly accept. The most obvious issue is the salary cap. If the organization decides againstĀ  Brad Richards buyout –and it looks like they will go that route– then they will have less money to work with to get their RFA’s that actually play under contract. Of course, the Rangers could simply use LTIR for Sauer to essentially remove the cap hit, so this is essentially a wash.

Perhaps the bigger issue is the number of contracts signed. Each team is allowed 50 contracts, and we saw this come into effect this season when the Rangers waived Jeff Halpern. They needed to clear a spot on the reserve list, and Halpern was the most likely to get claimed. It also was a factor in the Marian Gaborik trade, as the Rangers needed to throw in two additional contracts in order to obtain all three players from the Blue Jackets.

Since most teams leave wiggle room under the 50 contract limit, assume the Rangers want to get to 48 contracts as a maximum. At this juncture of the offseason, the Rangers are committed to 39 contracts. That number jumps to 43 when the Rangers sign their four core RFAs. If the Rangers re-up Benn Ferriero and Brandon Mashinter, that number gets to 45. That leaves the Rangers with three spare roster spots for UFA signings and/or trades. If Sauer is signed, that leaves them with just two roster spots to work with. There’s not much room to work with if Sauer’s on board.

Sauer was an integral part of the Rangers top-four before going down with his injury. His injury started a chain of events that led to Stu Bickel playing considerable time, then not at all, then the Rangers essentially playing five defensemen, then to the now necessary Marian Gaborik trade –which was made necessary not just by the need for forward depth, but for the need to fill that bottom-pairing hole they had since Sauer went down with his injury.

The worst part is that a promising NHL career appears to have ended with that thunderous Phaneuf hit. Hopefully Sauer will be able to recover from this injury and play again in the NHL, but the Rangers would be taking a huge risk by adding him to the 50-contract reserve list. Sometimes the business of hockey rears its ugly head, and this appears to be one of those times.

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  1. Sauer was a wonderful d-man for us, and I hated the fact that he went down, and never came back. That is the nature of concussions, and long term, these concussions can have horrible affects.

    Mike is like Marc Savard, Lindros, and Keith Primeau, guys who were hit hard, and developed a history of concussions. They are still living with those issues related to concussions, and I fear for these guys long term health.

    That stated, we should not offer a QO to Mike, because if he sat out the entire season, there are issues that aren’t being discussed relating to his concussion. Look, Mike is, was, and always will be a great guy, we should all wish him all the best in the future, but his future doesn’t include ever playing hockey again.

  2. Numerous posts-some even from Sauer. Sauer & his 3 brothers-basically all “stay at home” dads who played a little of professional hockey, football, got injured, then claimed to be permanently disabled. “Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”.

    Sauer suffered a degree one concussion (essentially had his bell rung & no more)& didn’t spend even one day hospitalized.

    Sauer was injured like the day after he came back from a shoulder separation. Sauer was injured all thru juniors & in the AHL, and was a wasted draft choice by the idiot Gordie Clark
    I suffered a 4th degree concussion, skull fracture, multiple hemorages on both sides of the brain, required a craniotomy, in a coma for a week, intensive care in Lee Memorial Hosp in Ft Myers Hosp 1/2011. I hit a pot hole driving on my scooter, flipped, & landed on my head. I was up and running, doing normal things in 6 months. I was also 62 yrs old.

    Boogard & the Sauer boys played the game & knew how to milk the system. When Boogard was seen numerous times clubbing late at night in Manhattan (while in rehab) & fans complained to MSG, Blueshirtbanter,the NY Post, no one did anything.

    Then it came out that Boogard had been in drug rehab numerous times when he was with Minnesota

    1. I don’t normally reply to post and this is my first. I have to say this is the most disgusting, heartless, disgraceful, and shameful thing I have ever read. what kind of a person are you to post something like that? What the hell do you know about this man and his family? Shame on you and all others like you who judge people without knowing the facts. Remember this, what goes around, comes around!!

    2. “Claim to be permanently disabled” Post Concussion Syndrome is which he has. Have you heard of the Bridgeport Bluefish? Their catcher got a concussion a few years ago and was forced to retire because of Post Concussion Syndrome. It happens you know.

  3. If the Rangers do not buyout Brad Richards in the coming week…they’ll have approximately $6+MILL available to sign 4 RFA’s McD, Stepan, Hags & Zuc.
    If they are to stave off potential offer sheets tendered by other teams, they’re going to need more cap space. And even if there were no possible competing offer sheets they will still need the space.
    This leaves no space for potential UFA’s such as
    Lapiere…or even a possible Lecavalier at a very reduced rate.
    Keeping Ichards makes absolutely no sense. If you do you run the risk of being stuck with his cap hit if he’s injured.
    It’s time for Slats anfd the press to get real.
    I believe Slats is a smart guy, despite his flaws,
    however if he does not buyout BR now…it will be an anal aperture moment.

    1. Uh, no if the Rangers decide not to buyout Richards. They will have 14.1 mil to sign 4 RFA’s and possible 2 UFA’s. If they did use the buyout on Richards, they’d have 20.7 million in space against the upper limit of the salary cap. The Rangers do not absolutely have to buyout Richie. Sather even with his “flaws” you spoke of, gained a little over 6 mil in cap space with the Gaborik trade. Pretty flawed that Sather huh.
      The Rangers only have to get by one season with Richards and hopefully he has a huge season under Vineault. Next year is the only season the Cap is a set number, in this case 64.3mil. After that the cap is calculated upon a 50/50 split of Hockey Revenue (HRR) as per the new CBA. Not a pre determined number! With the NHL reporting revenue for a full season in half the games this year and adding lots more outdoor NHL games. There is sure to be huge growth again next season. The salary cap could be 75mil. Who knows! The potential is there for 7-8% revenue growth in consecutive seasons. After next year Richards contract will NOT be such an albatross. Dolan will gladly pay him, his salary is beans to a billionaire. His Rangers are worth close to a billion alone.
      My point in short is after next year, Sather and co could have a good bit to work with even with Richards under contract. Why Buy him out now with a weak free agent class and no other top veteran center on the team and enough money to spend. Step & Brass aren’t getting NY to the cup alone.

  4. Gordie Clark signed by Sather 2002.
    Gordie Clark from Boston, got sather’s ear prior to 2003 draft to sign Dartmouth winger Hugh Jessiman.

    Gordie Clark has mirror imaged Sather’s failure rate Sather’s last 10 years with Edmonton- Clark stinks.

    While ranger scouts Rich Brennan uncover undrafted talent like Girardi & scout Crister Rockstrom discovered Lundquist, Hagelin, & Fasth in the 6th & 7th rounds Gordie Clark GETS ALL THE CREDIT.

    1. Strikes one two three and you are out

      Gordie Clark was hired by Sather in 2002 but he was not put in charge of running the drafts until AFTER Don Maloney left the Rangers for the Coyote’s job in May 2007.

      It was Don Maloney who pushed for the Jessiman selection NOT Gordie Clark.

      It was the team of Shannon Sather and Ernie Gare who pushed for the selection of Michael Sauer.

      Sauer yes was injured his draft year and missed part of his 2005-06 season but was still able to play 59 regular season and 12 playoff games for Portland. In 2006-07, Sauer played a combine 65 games between Portland and Vancouver where Sauer won a WHL Championship.

      Get your head out of your rear end because it was Tom Renney NOT Rich Brennan who pushed for the Rangers to sign Dan Girardi.

      And Clark never took credit for Lundqvist since he wasn’t even employed by the Rangers at the time. CHRISTER (please learn how to spell his name) Rockstrom got the rightful credit for Lundqvist and Hagelin but it was Anders Hedberg who gets the credit for Fast not Rockstrom.

      If you are going to go on a “I hate someone” rant please at the very least make sure you have you facts correct.

      1. You need not respond to a dip stick!!!! Because you did, I have to say I agree 1000000%.

  5. If Sauer does return and is 100%, he isnt going to get an NHL contract. Even if its 2 way. If anything he will get an AHL contract.

  6. Benn Ferriero is not really needed. So that saves on roster spot. Rangers have made some serious 1st round mistakes over the past 12 years or so.. but if you look at it closely many teams do also.

  7. Glad to see Frankiec is still as paranoid and delusional as usual. Seriously how have you not been picked up by the paddy wagon and taken to the nuthouse?

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