Thoughts following the Draft/Free Agency

New sheriff in town…

Happy 4th of July weekend, BSB community! Before we get started, just a quick housekeeping issue: we have our off-season plan contest finalists down to our final three. The finalists have submitted tremendously creative and interesting proposals. The plan is to start unveiling those next week for community voting, however, I didn’t want to bury them at the beginning of a holiday weekend, so you’re stuck with my thoughts.

Without further adieu, here are my thoughts post-draft and post-free agency

  • I feel like I need to start with Marty St. Louis. I’ll admit there was a part of me who was disappointed when the report came out that he was intending to play next year, even if not in New York. This wasn’t a proprietary feeling of ownership or insecurity about Marty making us pay for not retaining him, but the feeling you get when you know that a once great player was hanging around a little too long. It was very difficult to watch Marty struggle this year and I’m happy for him that, for the most part, he went out on his own terms. What a fantastic career, a first ballot Hall of Famer. Thank you, Marty. All the best in retirement.
  • I’ll also admit, I’m still sore about the Hagelin trade. I agree with the staff here in the general notion that post-lockout (II) Slats has done a tremendous job putting together an absolutely phenomenal stretch of Rangers success the past ten years. However, I feel as though he stubbornly contracted himself into a corner and refuses to acknowledge it.
  • Many of the contracts on this team are perfectly acceptable in a vacuum, many are even bargains. The problem is that there are several contracts that are square pegs for this team’s round holes, and Sather chose to downgrade on a quality player rather than trying to move less prudent contracts for accommodate Hagelin’s salary. I understand that no sane person would trade for Tanner Glass. Bury his contract in the minors. Kevin Klein is a very moveable asset, trade him instead. If the Oilers would give Andrej Sekera 6/$33m, maybe they consider taking Girardi?
  • Continuing this massive run-on thought, I do like Emerson Etem as a player, but I don’t think he is a fit for this roster, right now. He is a very similar player to JT Miller, and he is a big bag of tools that hasn’t put it all together yet. The light bulb may go on this year and make me eat my words, but I think the return either needed to be a high-end asset a few years off, or a somewhat known commodity. Going through growing pains for a talented yet inconsistent player in the back half of Hank’s window is not the most logical return, at least for me.
  • It became clear once the Talbot trade was completed that the Oilers were the only team Sather really had any interest in dealing Cam to. For some reason, he had a weird east coast issue with the trade, which to me makes no sense. This is a trade for a backup goaltender. Get the best return possible regardless of destination. I get it if you don’t want to send him to the Islanders or Flyers, but why not the Panthers? Or the Canes? I feel like this ultimately diminished Talbot’s practical value compared to the earlier reports.
  • The other factor that hamstrung the front office wasn’t their fault, at all. I think had Sather been able to bluff, he could have gotten at least #33. However, the availability of Griffin Reinhardt torpedoed that potential deal.
  • As for free agency, I really liked the Rangers’ moves. Clearly the ever present cap crunch potentially saved the team from themselves, but very low-key, value moves put the Rangers in a good position to push their young players into more key, productive roles.
  • I would have loved to keep Matt Hunwick, and he absolutely deserves the contract he got for himself. However, $1.2m is too much for a 7D, which he would have been in the Rangers organization. Raphael Diaz will do fine in that role and come significantly cheaper. Plus, he is a right-handed shot.
  • I like the Antti Raanta deal very much, as well. I will do an in-depth profile on our newest backup goaltender shortly, but trading a spare part for a guy who has shown he can handle 15-25 games in relief of Hank is a no-brainer trade for me.
  • Alternatively, the Halverson entry-level deal was somewhat confusing. It’s not to say he isn’t ready to start his pro career, but where is he going to get the minutes he needs once Skapski returns? Will they send him to Greenville? Will Magnus Hellberg go down? These things usually have a way of working themselves out, but I think I would leave Halverson in junior for another year, and hopefully the Rangers agree.
  • A couple things I will be very curious to see:
    • How much autonomy will Jeff Gorton actually have in his new role as GM, with Sather still very firmly planted in the organization?
    • How much will Derek Stepan stand to earn on his next contract?
    • Will the team try to do anymore maneuvering either on the blue line or in the middle/bottom six?
    • Will Tanner Glass stand in the way of Oscar Lindberg getting a legitimate chance to stick with the team early on?
  • It’s been an interesting week for Ranger fans (more so for Bruins’ fans, hah!), with presumably more to come as we start to lock RFA’s down. Make sure to look for those Off-Season Plan finalists next week, and from myself and our whole staff at BSB, have a happy and safe 4th of July!

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  • ” I understand that no sane person would trade for Tanner Glass. Bury his contract in the minors. Kevin Klein is a very moveable asset, trade him instead. If the Oilers would give Andrej Sekera 6/$33m, maybe they consider taking Girardi?”

    Sending Glass to the AHL does practically nothing… -$1m of his $1.45 and most-likely get replaced by Lindberg (or someone =) +$800-900k. So $450k+$800k=$1.25m… you’re saving $200k at most, not nearly enough to make much of a difference.

    Klein (we think) is a movable asset… though he hasn’t been traded yet so maybe teams really aren’t lining up for him. Regardless even the $2m you save with his contract (assuming you replace him with Skjei or =) still does not give you the money to keep Hagelin long term. They MAYBE could’ve went to arbitration and hoped for a low enough award for a one year deal but there are more issues with that. On a one year deal, with Kreider, Hayes, Yandle, Moore needing contracts, you’re stuck in the same boat except this time Hagelin will be UFA. You will not get any value for him. And unless your season is going in the tank by the trade deadline, you’re not going to go through all that just to trade him away a few months before the playoffs.

    Girardi is not going anywhere. No movement. He likes it here, they’re competitive, so even if you find someone wiling to take on his contract what are the odds you can beg him to waive his NMC? Not moving.

    “It became clear once the Talbot trade was completed that the Oilers were the only team Sather really had any interest in dealing Cam to.”

    Not sure we can really come to that conclusion. At first I would’ve agreed with you. I thought they botched the deal not taking the first report of two 2nds. however the more reports that came out after the draft makes me believe some of those good offers weren’t ever offered. ie Hayes + for Talbot became two 3rds and a 5th or something like that. So in the end EDM may have been the highest offer. Only those at the table truly know.

    Halverson’s ELC will slide… no harm there. That has more to do with age I believe… remember they messed up Duclair’s ELC because of the age at which he signed.

    All in all, anyone who was truly surprised at the moves they made so far this offseason hasn’t really been following their CAP situation. And the others are the people who just like to believe that Stepan and Hagelin would sign for $4m and $2m respectively, and Glass can be traded for a 3rd round pick(though maybe Don Sweeney is dumb enough) ect.

  • Great piece Justin. I agree with almost all your points. Where we disagree is Klein. I think he is needed. I’m not even considering his 9 goals. We need him for his defense.

    I really want McIlrath to get a shot this year

    On another point I think this team does itself a disservice keeping Boyle and Yandle. They both are defensive liabilities.

  • Thanks Justin. Solid read and always a nice even keeled perspective.

    That said, the suspense on the finalists is killing me. Luckily it’s my birthday weekend so I’ll have distractions etc, otherwise I think the suspense would prove to be too much for me. Happy 4th!

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