State of the Rangers

A second Staal in New York?

Will Marc Staal return to his dominant best?
Could they both be wearing Ranger blue ?

Marc Staal has brothers, this is not new to you by now. Most of them as you will surely know are in Carolina and the longer Rangers defenseman Marc Staal goes without a new contract there will be the same old assumptions that he will end up in Carolina with his brethren. Recently, media reports have reported that Staal has begun to discuss a new contract with the Rangers – perhaps a new deal could come during training camp, which kicks off today. What hasn’t been discussed is the potential for Eric Staal to join Marc in New York.

Think about it for a second. The Rangers have a need for a top line center (unless Derek Stepan has a season we would all die for). They need size and skill down the middle to compete with the Kings and Bruins of the world and they have their own Staal brother to entice Eric to New York. With a cap ceiling that continues to grow, a move for the high priced Hurricanes captain is a legitimate possibility. Most assumptions are that Marc would join Eric but perhaps the smarter money would be on Eric changing zip codes and heading to NYC.

Fact is, Eric’s future in Carolina is perhaps as much up in the air as Marc’s is in New York – in fact, probably more. Like Marc, Eric is a one club guy to this point in his career but his career has somewhat stalled (not Staaled) in Carolina and he’s coming off an underwhelming year (61 points) despite earning significant money. Carolina are in rebuild mode and if Eric wants another cup run his chances are far greater away from Carolina. Eric would add a serious chunk of talent to the Rangers top six.

After the upcoming season, Eric has one year left in Carolina with a $8.25m cap hit. A daunting figure indeed but with a growing cap and a paucity of quality centers available around the league, Staal.E.  would make sense for the Rangers if he became available. Center is also the one position where Carolina can afford to trade from to improve other parts of their club.

In Staal number three – Jordan – and Jeff Skinner, the Carolina club have two quality NHL centers to build around and a highly promising prospect in Elias Lindholm who has already got his feet wet in the big league too. With prospects such as Viktor Rask and serviceable NHL players such as Nathan Gerbe, the Hurricanes can afford to move their captain if it helped them rebuild. Center is the least of their concerns.

The main issues are whether a club in a non traditional hockey market like Carolina can afford to trade the face of their franchise and survive the probable backlash from their fan base while Rangers fans will rightly wonder whether the Rangers even have the assets Carolina would demand. Two major issues indeed that may hinder any Eric Staal trade but if Staal doesn’t see progression from the ‘Canes this coming season and indicates he wants to leave, it may force Ron Francis and the Hurricanes management into a move.

If the Rangers did have the resources to make a move for Eric Staal, Staal would make the Rangers a much more formidable opponent down the middle and a return to 70-80 point form for the center would be probable given he’d have better linemates, and be on a stronger team. At 29, Staal has plenty left to give and perhaps all he needs is a change of scenery to get back to his former elite, power forward ways. Eric being the Staal to be on the move and potentially joining his brother in New York doesn’t get much air time, but it’s an intriguing possibility and a move that could help both clubs improve. Everyone loves a good old fashioned hockey trade.

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  • I don’t think we will get him, I think we have a better chance to get Ryan Johansen than we do Eric Staal. Johansen’s situation is getting real ugly. Eric is the team’s face and to get him would require assets that would blow up the franchise which also holds true with Johansen.
    As a fan I would rather trade staal in a blockbuster for Johansen. In truth the Rangers if they decide to go for a center will go for a high quality 2nd line center versus the likes of Staal or Johansen.
    In all reality I think we are going with Miller, Lindberg and Hayes to fill the one slot open at center. Truth be told that is not so bad, the one thing I would do is get back into the 1st round of this upcoming draft and pick at least 3 centers and 3 right handed wingers to fill the cupboard where it lacks.

    • I’m actually going to disagree here. I think the price to get either of these guys is about the same, if not more for Johansen for CBJ because of his youth. Johansen (Just 1 good season) is still extremely young and isn’t done developing yet so his return will remain extremely high. Meanwhile in Carolina you have a new GM and a new philosophy (rebuild) who may not want to be saddled with a high priced veteran on the roster whose value to the club as a point producer is decreasing by the season.

      Ultimately when it comes down to it… The Rangers don’t have the pieces to make either of these deals in my opinion. The farm system is pretty bare bones at this moment so it would take an act of desperation for either of these teams to make a trade with the Rangers. Or Carolina really wanting Staal out, and demanding a trade but only allowing the Canes to negotiate with the Rangers. That didn’t exactly help drive down the cost with the St. Louis trade last year since they still had to trade Callahan and two 1sts (conditionally). The Rangers already don’t have a 1st rounder next season and don’t have a lot of high end young talent that both teams would be looking for. While it would be nice, I just don’t think the Rangers have enough pieces… you know unless no one else bids on either of these guys.

    • There’s only one of Miller, Lindberg, or Hayes making the roster. Hagelin and Stempniak should have the outside covered on that line. A left and a right handed shot on wing and one of those 3 pivots in the middle. I think Hayes fits best with his size in the middle and a 2 way power game. What do you all think? Should Lindberg or Miller be give the spot? All are lefties and Lindberg is best in the Faceoff circle but had an adjusting period in the defensive zone at the show. We also know how much of an adventure Miller can be in his end and has yet to show he can beat an NHL goalie one on one. He is skilled enough to create chances but hasn’t been able to finish. Maybe he worked hard this summer and in the pre-camp workouts to better his 2 way game. I think Hayes gets the job to start the first game or more. It’ll be his job to keep it but if Miller isn’t on the 4th line then he may get called up to replace Hayes after a week or two.

  • Great post! Definitely something interesting to think about. However, the pieces just dont seem to be there for a trade for either E Staal or Johansen. The only pieces the Rangers that seem to be enticing at all would be Skej, Duclair, and Hayes. Duclair and Skej seem to be the most promising prospects in the systems so I don’t see them being moved and Hayes was just signed so ditto for him. Kristo has lost all value with a very underwhelming year in the minors and IMO no one else in the system really jumps out to other teams. At the end of the day, it would most likely take a package of Skej + Miller + and a future pick to remotely make sense for other teams and I just don’t know if the Rangers would be willing to pull the trigger on something like that

  • Love the idea, but cap space in 2014-15 is the problem. You could trade M Staal +3.975M and a prospect(say JT Miller 895K) for Johansen as an example and hopefully free up enough money to sign Johansen on a bridge deal for about $5.35 mill per. (That trade frees up about $4.87 mill and we have +482K cap space leftover=). The problem with the Staal’s is you probably have to trade Mark and someone else big to make room for Eric’s Salary. The Salary Cap is less of an issue around the trade deadline.

  • Great article! Really liked it a lot.

    I agree with most of the above. Rangers do not have the chips to get it done. Unless you are willing to throw in Kreider, I can’t see any way Carolina takes from us. For Eric, they need at least 1 ready – made NHL – caliber player, who is young. And I don’t think Zuc. will get it done. So it’s probably Kreider and add to that, and I’m not sure we should do that move.

  • Nice topic, but I do not see it happening. Most above hit the points. I feel that hockey teams need to generally use their salary cap to a tune of 60% Offense, 30% defense and 10% for the netminders. It would be interesting so know what the current roster and salary percentages say. If we are already spending about 30% with Girardi and McD leading the way, we might not be able to afford another high-priced D-Man. Stall may be odd man out. We probably already pay more than 10% on Hank alone. The point I am trying to make is that we may need to swing some money (and real talent) off of the blueline to augment the offense. E. Stall coming here may be right, but not along with Stall, instead of M.Stall.

  • Terrible post!
    Skinner is a LW always has been, always will be.

    I pretty much expected the writer of this post to say something like the Rangers really need a power forward and need to trade for “Tuuka Raskk” of Boston.

    Staal has been in “free fall” relating to his career numbers since 2009-2010.

    Since 2009-2010, he’s been a minus 34, gone from 40 goals to 21, 14 power play goals in 2008-2009, ONE power play goal last year, three power play goals the year before.

    Acquiring Staal will abasolutely kill the power play, where he has no place belonging.

    An absolutely ridiculous, porrly thought out posting. Brand Richards all over again.

    • I actually don’t completely disagree with Frank here. Just a flat out no thanks to Eric Staal. Just another overpriced player who just cannot live up to the contract. He’s not getting better and the fact that the Rangers would have to trade prospects to get him in addition to paying that kind of money just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I like Rick Nash, but the Rangers dont need to repeat that scenario again.

  • What about Jordan Staal? Would he be a better fit or is his long term contract a deal breaker? He’s signed for 9 more seasons at a $6 mil cap charge. He’s younger, bigger, and may be the better 2 way player. With the Rangers wingers it might make more sence to go after a middle of the lineup Centerman. Like a 2nd or 3rd line pivot. His contract is significantly less and as the cap goes up and he puts up more points. His contract will look better every year. With the loss of Brian Boyle it makes sence to have another forward that can play PK mins and be responsible in the defensive end.

    • Puck Luck

      Your right on with your remark!!

      I always liked Jordan when he was with the Pens, and he is a solid two way player, who can do all the things necessary to win. The price tag is very doable as well.

      Frank, you also made some very solid points. Well thought out post!!

      • Thanks Walt. I just figured the Rangers might get more for less in Jordan over Eric Staal. Jordan is bigger and the Rangers don’t really need a top line center. They need a middle six type of center. This team hasn’t been a one man show for a long time. They score by committee. Having a kid like Jordan could put Brassard in the 3rd center position where he was so successful. I hate the length of Jordan’s contract but at $6 mil he could be a steal some day.

  • It would be very Sather-esque to trade for a big name veteran center (or Thornton for example)

    Would have to be Brassard + young roster player / prospect + veteran(Klein maybe?) going the other way in order to make the cap numbers work

    I don’t think it’ll happen, nor do I want it to, but certainly an interesting topic for discussion

    • You’re right in my opinion. There’s no need for the Rangers to seek a trade like this right now. Unless the team were to have a dreadful start to the season. Most of the core players remain so this is largely the same team as last year. The loss of the players that left and new guys may create a new culture in the locker room but I can’t see it being a bad one with work horses MSL & Dan Boyle on this team. I like your style Walt. This is gonna be a good team as long as they get something from the 3rd line. I wouldn’t expect it to be like last years depth but they have a good mix of vets and kids now.

  • That is a crazy cap hit even for only 1 year. Rangers also do not have what it takes to make this trade. So this is a long shot at best but i would not do it. The CBJ situation is a mess and JD is rightly holding his ground.

    • JD is doing the right thing with Johanson, he went public to show how off the wall his demands really are. As for trading for him, not no, but hell no. Do we need a cancer in the locker room? I say not!!!

  • It all sounds great, but our problem is money. I don’t know how we give our Staal a raise, let alone bring in another one at an even greater price tag. We’re right up against the cap. We would have to send their way some serious salary in exchange. Eric’s cap hit is over million! We couldn’t trade enough guys to equal that… Unless the trade included Rick Nash

    Stepan can break out and be more of a legit top line center this season

  • Curveball. Trade Marc Staal for Eric Staal. Rumors abound next offseason, “Eric Staal to leave NY to rejoin brothers in Carolina?”

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