Why chasing Stamkos would be a mistake

Steven Stamkos will likely command in excess of $10 million this summer
Steven Stamkos will likely command in excess of $10 million this summer

Sportsnet’s John Shannon lit a match next to a can of gasoline when he sent this tweet on Saturday:

Does the idea of dumping a bunch of salary via trade only to immediately reinvest a mega deal in another free agent sound familiar to anyone else?

On June 30, 2009 the Blueshirts shipped Scott Gomez and his remaining $33.5 million to Montreal. The very next day those short-lived savings were spent on Marian Gaborik, who inked a five-year, $37.5 million deal.

Gaborik enjoyed two very productive years in New York and the Rangers also landed Ryan McDonagh in the Gomez swap, so things turned out pretty well with that exchange.

It would be understandable if members of the front office were fondly reminiscing on that flurry of moves as they consider possibilities for the summer ahead. But even though the idea of shedding a massive contract (or two, or three), then immediately turning around and pursuing Stamkos could be tempting for the big-fish loving Blueshirts, it would be the wrong course of action this time around.

Forget, for a moment, Stamkos’s level of interest in moving to the Big Apple.

Even if the Blueshirts were able to free up enough cash to make a legitimate offer to Stamkos by moving Nash, Dan Girardi and/or Marc Staal without eating much salary – managing the salary cap is still going to be an issue in the immediate future. Key building blocks Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller and Kevin Hayes will command high-dollar deals during Stamkos’s hypothetical tenure in New York, whether they come this summer as RFAs or over the next couple of years.

Even Derick Brassard, Mats Zuccarello and Ryan McDonagh – all of whom still have three very affordable years remaining on their contracts – could be in line for big boosts in just a few seasons.

Keeping all those players with Stamkos would be doable if the Blueshirts were somehow able to get out from their anchor deals – but it would leave the team in the same position it is now, with little flexibility to continue tinkering in search of the final recipe. You could say goodbye to Keith Yandle and future Blueshirt hopeful Kevin Shattenkirk, that’s for sure.

And beyond the financial implications, offense is not where New York’s primary issues lie. Sure, moving Nash would leave a massive hole, but the Blueshirts still ranked seventh in offense this season despite Nash missing 22 games and contributing just 15 goals and 36 points. He’s the team’s sole bona fide first-line winger, but it’s not ridiculous to think that rookie Pavel Buchnevich could match those totals on his own – let alone an increase in production from the team’s other young forwards with significant offensive upside.

The Rangers ranked a paltry 28th in offense heading into the offseason when they moved Gomez and brought in Gaborik, so there was real need to add a star scorer to buoy a stalwart defensive club. That’s not the case now – the Blueshirts are coming off a season when they ranked seventh in offense and their glaring holes are for puck-moving defensemen and speed on the wings.

Stamkos himself is a star player, though maybe no longer the transcendent goal scorer he was just a few years ago before he suffered a devastating leg injury and a variety of other ailments including the current blood clot that has kept him out of the lineup since April 4. Is he the missing piece separating New York from a Stanley Cup? It’s difficult to make that argument convincingly given the Lightning is a win away from reaching the Final without Stamkos playing a minute during the postseason.

Of course, if it could be ensured that shuffling the deck to obtain Stamkos would also land the equivalent of another McDonagh, then I might change my tune…


"Why chasing Stamkos would be a mistake", 2 out of 5 based on 13 ratings.

68 thoughts on “Why chasing Stamkos would be a mistake

  • May 24, 2016 at 7:23 am

    Stamkos is an elite player in his prime that you can acquire without giving up assets. You don’t treat him as a missing piece, but rather a cornerstone of the franchise. Not going after him is pure insanity.

    • May 25, 2016 at 11:52 am

      But see the issue is you DO have to give up assets, even if indirectly. It’s just dumping salary now, but it forces your hand with key players in the very near future

    • May 25, 2016 at 3:07 pm

      Totally agree. No risk, no reward.

  • May 24, 2016 at 7:39 am

    So yes to losing big declining D contract of Staal/Girardi and reinvesting right back into 30 year old Yandle but no to losing big (declining?) forward contract of Nash and reinvesting in a 26 year old superstar?

    • May 25, 2016 at 11:29 am

      Two problems with your comparison:
      1) Yandle will get waaaay less money and fewer years than Stamkos
      2) More importantly, Girardi is probably the worst defenseman in the league, and Staal is not much better. The gap between Staal/Girardi and Yandle is enormous. The gap between Nash and Stamkos is much closer than you think.

      Last 3 seasons 5v5 P60:
      Stamkos – 2.05
      Nash – 2.22

      All situations P60:
      Stamkos – 2.72 (PP P60 5.03)
      Nash – 2.46 (PP P60 2.86)

      We draw the fewest penalties in the league, so Stamkos’ greatest strength, the power play, would be in part neutralized on the Rangers.

      Further, Stamkos’ production has declined the past few seasons. Look at his 5v5 P60 last 3 seasons:

      13/14 – 2.54
      14/15 – 2.15
      15/16 – 1.69

      So, Stamkos doesn’t look to be worth the $10M+ per year that he will get, and he’s not significantly better than Nash, who we already have on the team for considerably less money.

      • May 25, 2016 at 11:53 am

        With you for most of this – but the drawing penalties point I think is a little unfair. That’s not really a trend that carries over year to year

        • May 25, 2016 at 12:09 pm

          Where the Rangers have ranked in power play opportunities under Vigneault:

          2013-14: 18th
          2014-15: 25th
          2015-16: 30th

          I’m not aware of any research that has been done on the carry-over of this statistic from year to year, but it seems that the Rangers will again be towards the bottom in power play opportunities if this data tells us anything at all.

      • May 25, 2016 at 12:05 pm

        Agree with Kev’s review of your assessment. Also i’d say that your review of Girardi is harsh.

        Much of why his numbers are so bad is usage. Think back to Roszival. We used him as a 1st pairing D and everyone thought he belonged out of the NHL. Once Chicago slotted him into their bottom 4 (3rd pairing) he looked much more comfortable, had better numbers and won multiple cups.

        Girardi is far from the worst D in the NHL…. he may be close to having the worst results- but those results are largely a product of Girardi failing at the situations he is thrown into, and that is on the coach.

        Aside from that, great points. Stamkos declining production is a real concern that everyone that wants an ELITE CENTERMAN is not aware of. Never again will he score 60 goals in a season. He’s been a different player (production-wise) since his injury and MSL’s departure from his line.

        • May 25, 2016 at 12:27 pm

          I can’t prove that Girardi would perform at the same level with less ice time, but I can prove that the competition he faced was not materially different from what his teammates faced. Check CorC% and ToiC% columns on War-on-Ice. They are pretty much the same across the board, yet some defensemen were able to handle it, and two weren’t. I would also argue that it’s impossible to truly shelter a player in hockey, since line changes are made on the fly the majority of the time. Everyone plays against everyone, not sure there’s a way around that.

          • May 25, 2016 at 6:24 pm

            184 defensemen played 500+ minutes. In TOIC%, Girardi was 20th and Yandle 140th. In CorC%, Girardi was 30th and Yandle 141st. The number differentials aren’t dramatic, but the relative standings are clear. The numbers for top pair defensemen are not that high because they play a lot and so not only against top lines. But there is sheltering and it does affect the numbers.

            And while Girardi is only 36 seconds per game up on Yandle, please note that one minute per game playing time is the difference between Rick Nash and Kevin Hayes 5 v 5.

        • May 25, 2016 at 3:10 pm

          Stamkos is playing for a guy, he does not want to play for. A fresh start wherever will bring his numbers up again, providing he is healthy.

          • May 25, 2016 at 3:33 pm


            St Louis was point a game in TB playing for Yzerman who he hated due to Olympic snub. Once he got his magic trade, his reg season numbers tanked.

            Sometimes, be careful what you wish for.

            • May 25, 2016 at 6:12 pm

              Not a chance, what I wish for is Stamkos, not the worries of the faint of heart.

        • May 25, 2016 at 3:11 pm

          I think Girardi on the third pair is the way to go next year since he isn’t getting traded.

          • May 25, 2016 at 5:37 pm

            7th D until he shows that he’s actually healthy.

            • May 25, 2016 at 7:34 pm

              that will never be the case as long as AV is here, he’ll play Dan over DMC, and that is sad !

      • May 25, 2016 at 2:17 pm

        The only reason the Rangers are being linked to Stamkos is to drive his price up. Probably a rumor sent out by Stamkos’ agents.

    • May 25, 2016 at 2:15 pm

      The only reason I would say that is not fair is because not every player is made for NY and Yandle is a proven commodity. He had a monster season in NY. Who knows what Stamkos does in NY.
      He may be in decline.

  • May 25, 2016 at 7:31 am

    At least be in the game, if even to only give the fans something to chew on during our summer of discontent.

    What other 26 y/o game changer is out there and available for only money?

  • May 25, 2016 at 7:32 am

    As much as I would love to have Stamkos on my team, the cost of $10 mil per season, for some 7 years, scares the heck out of me. He certainly is what is lacking by us, but I think back to Pascal Dupree, and his blood issues. The Pens had him signed for a few more years, but he was forced to retire due to this issue.

    Can you imagine signing Steven to a huge contract, only to have him throw anther embolism, this time in his lungs, forcing him to sit an entire season, or two, or three????????? See where I’m going with this? As great as he is, the cost of having him play for us, and the potential of his clotting issue manifesting itself again, and again, sorry folks, I’d wish him good health, good luck, and walk away !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I’m no doctor, and I didn’t sleep at the Holiday Inn last night, but I try to use common sense, and everyone else should before jumping on his bandwagon…..

    • May 25, 2016 at 12:58 pm

      So then you have a $10-12mm cap credit when you stick him on LTIR. You’ve probably gutted your team to get him…

      • May 25, 2016 at 2:31 pm

        exactly we would have gutted the team, and I’m for rebuilding it, not tearing it up………I stand with my opinion, and still would let him walk, if not run from us!!!!!!!!!!

    • May 25, 2016 at 3:13 pm

      Letang had serious issues too, & Hank had a vascular problem too. I wouldn’t worry abt it.

      • May 25, 2016 at 7:36 pm


        We usually agree on most things, not this time my friend !!!!!!!!!

        • May 25, 2016 at 11:00 pm

          Life would be boring if we always agreed, right? But when you get a chance to get a guy like Stamkos, you go for it. Remember when we lost in the finals to L.A. & the common thread was that the Rangers were overwhelmed at Centre. Well, nothing has changed, we are still overwhelmed at Centre. You are not going to win the Cup with Stepan & Brassard. Step is getting too much money so I say trade him after signing Stamkos. You got 4.8 from Boyle, 2.5(?) for Yandle(he’s not going to sign & should have been traded at the deadline– THE big,big mistake of the year, trade Step(6.5), trade Klein(2.9), drop Moore(1.5), trade Glass(1.5). There you have 19.7 to sign Stamkos & reup all the RFAs. Play Skjei, DMAC & bring in a low cost UFA D, like a Hunwick.

          • May 26, 2016 at 7:18 am


            Today, on SNYRangersBlog, this post. Just read the last paragraph, that is one of my points being made for me..

            25/16 | 10:32PM: The chances of the Rangers go after Steven Stamkos are “extremely remote” according to Larry Brooks. (NY Post)

            Brooks says that Stamkos is expected to get around $70 million over 7 years and that the Rangers would likely have to clear $16 million in cap space to sign Stamkos and then fill out the roster. (NY Post)

            Brooks says that while Stamkos is the prime free agent option the Rangers are expected to make their changes this summer through trades and not through free agency. (NY Post)

            He also notes of an issue the Rangers would have insuring Stamkos’ contract against a another instance of the blood-clot issue that has kept the Lightning captain out. (NY Post)

            For more on Stamkos, click HERE.

            • May 26, 2016 at 4:56 pm

              Brooks says it’s unlikely? YAAAH!!! You know what that means Walt, it means it’s gonna happen!!!! LOL!!

  • May 25, 2016 at 8:45 am

    Like Walt, I was fortunate enough not to have slept at a Holiday Inn last night. I also don’t want to see the club plunking down a load of cash on a ‘savior’ when they instead need to develop a bunch of young players to be their core for the next 5 years and beyond. They are crippled with big contracts as it is, so taking on another even if you lose one or two of the others is falling into the same trap.

    If they were one player away and had future stars in their system, maybe. But, they are not and they don’t. When healthy he is a fine player, no doubt. But they truly need to overhaul their Dmen and concentrate on developing young people. I don’t think they should get into the bidding for him.

    • May 25, 2016 at 10:12 am

      I’m not advocating for adding Stamkos, but, adding Stamkos would actually allow the Rangers to start refilling the pipeline with high draft picks. Adding Stamkos would mean the Rangers wouldn’t have to rely so heavily on parting with first and second round picks for the next few years.

      Now, adding Stamkos really isn’t a priority for the Rangers as I think they still have one of better top 9s in the NHL. Like you said Peter, this summer is about overhauling the D. Getting Ds that are mobile and better puckhandlers is paramount. That improvement alone would unlock the greatness that is is the Rangers top 9.

      • May 25, 2016 at 10:59 am

        I don’t think the top 9 has “greatness” – outside of Nash and Stepan (most of the time) they’re defensively irresponsible, get too caught up in fancy play making that often results in turnovers with no shots and they consistently pass up chances to shoot the puck at the net (the BEST play in hockey). That said, they’d be good enough if they played with their heads outside of their asses a bit more.

        I agree that improving the blue line is the priority this off season much more so than Stamkos.

        • May 25, 2016 at 12:56 pm

          Shooting the puck at the net used to be the best play in hockey. Nowadays goalies are too good, their positioning and rebound control have made blindly throwing the puck at the net and hoping for a rebound a waste of time. Now the best play is the cross ice pass, it gets the goalie moving and forces the goalie to leave openings which can be exploited. The Rangers excelled at the cross ice, or crease pass, two years ago when their D was competent enough to trigger the transition game with regularity.

          The Rangers offense is fancy playmaking because, wait for it, their top 9 is full of fancy playmakers. I could care less about shots on goal, any donkey can take a meaningless shot from the half boards that the goalie swallows up or kicks into the corner, I just want quality scoring chances. For two years the Rangers were dominant in that department, last year, not so much.

          • May 25, 2016 at 1:10 pm

            “Shooting the puck at the net used to be the best play in hockey. ”

            Sorry pal, it still is. You throw as many shots at the net as you can manage, screen the goalie and hope for deflections, bad bounces, etc.

            The cross-ice set ups to get the goalie out of position look pretty but how many goals are actually scored that way compared to deflections and rebounds? The Rangers problem is that they don’t screen the goalie enough they skate past the net instead of positioning themselves for rebounds. They also telegraph nearly every shot and end up letting the goalie see the shot all the way.

            We have too many “play makers” and no real finishers – well Zucc and Brassard could be finishers but the only shoot as a last resort. Their fancy Dan “play making” produces turnovers without a shot being fired and wastes tons of power play time much more often than it leads to quality scoring chances.

            Not sure what games you watch.

            • May 25, 2016 at 2:58 pm

              22% of all goals scored in 2014-2015 were the result of completed cross ice passes. That’s over double the % of any other type of goal that can be scored.

              Rebounds only account for 8% of goals scored that year. Screens accounted for 10% that year.

              We’re pretty much both right.

              Where you end up getting a slight edge is ‘bad goals’ basically goals where the puck goes in and we’re all laughing (or cursing) at the goalie afterwards. These are bad angle shots, like from the goal line extended, long unscreened shots, basically flukes.

    • May 25, 2016 at 3:16 pm

      What young people are you going to develop when there is not a lot in the system to develop. We have some good yopung players but an elite guy like Stamkos is worth the money. We have assets we can trade if he signs on.

  • May 25, 2016 at 8:47 am

    Any deal they make for Nash, IMO, would involve them having to eat some of the salary. With that cap hit, any team would be insane to absorb that salary completely. So I don’t see a windfall of cap space if they trade him. If they can get back a 2nd line talent and a early round pick, at this point, I would be happy. Not having to pay a similar salary to anyone they get back, is how they win this trade. But the benefits would not be reaped until later. Meaning , that they probably will not get a viable replacement for what Nash brings to the table, next year. Rebuild, anyone?

  • May 25, 2016 at 9:59 am

    This is the NY Rangers. We don’t do small fish. We don’t build with young talent. We make big splashes with big name talent!

    A top line of Stamkos / Brassard / Kreider would be quite good in my book.
    Now, don’t ask about any other lines because we would no longer have Nash, Stepan, or Hayes. We could have Oskar, Buch and JT and for a 3rd line we could have Stallberg, Fast and Megna. The 4th line is Tanner, and really, who else do we need.

    McD, Skjei, Klein, Stall. Girardi, McIlrath Can you say Lord Stanley – HA!!!!!!!!!!

    • May 25, 2016 at 11:01 am

      Not trying to nitpick, but how do you end up with Stamkos and Brassard on the same line after proposing to part with Stepan and Hayes?

      We remove centers number 1 and 3. Add a new number 1c and put the number 2c on his line….. I don’t follow.

    • May 25, 2016 at 3:22 pm

      Wrong line–the line would be Kreider-Stamkos-Nash. Brassard centres 2nd line & JT Miller the third.

      • May 25, 2016 at 7:39 pm


        Where is this money coming from, with both Nash, Stamkos, and raises due to JT, Kreider, and possibly Hayes ?????????

        • May 25, 2016 at 11:01 pm

          See above.

  • May 25, 2016 at 10:26 am

    There is something to be said for getting a player like him in his prime though.

    • May 25, 2016 at 12:12 pm

      Yeah I think the big factor everyone is missing is this guy is 26. This IS the guy you pay. The Rangers usually wait until the next contract is about up and trade for the last 2 years and get the 36-37 year old Stamkos.

      This cannot be compared to other deals.

      You told me in offseason the rangers traded Nash/Girardi and staal for Stamkos I would be picking him up at the airport. This is top 5 talent we will never get unless we rebuild and suck for 2-3 years.

      • May 25, 2016 at 12:32 pm

        I think Top 5 is aggressive.

        Not sure I’d consider him worth a 10 mil price tag given our cap situation.

        • May 25, 2016 at 3:13 pm

          Ok if not in top 5 overall…he is in the conversation when it comes to top 5 offensive impact players. Put him from 5-10 and I am ok with getting that type of talent for just money and for most of his prime years.

          It could be costly but I don’t think it matters anyway, because no way I see them shedding the money needed to make it work.

  • May 25, 2016 at 11:01 am

    If they sign Stamkos he’ll end up just like Gaborik and Nash – a guy who will be vilified for not winning the Cup single-handedly and not living up to his salary. The cap management considerations also mitigate against pursuing him. Better an ensemble than another “savior”.

  • May 25, 2016 at 11:23 am

    What would AV do with Stamkos?

    • May 25, 2016 at 11:55 am

      Tanner Glass at LW and Fast on the right, obviously.

      • May 25, 2016 at 12:29 pm

        And another 100+ point Season! (;

      • May 25, 2016 at 2:05 pm

        Don’t forget about Backes Kevin

        • May 25, 2016 at 2:56 pm

          I am not for adding Backes by the way

  • May 25, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    Now if you really want to look ahead, wait a year and go after Victor Hedman.

    • May 25, 2016 at 2:42 pm

      that is one of the smartest post I’ve read in a long time !!!!!!!!!!!

      • May 25, 2016 at 3:47 pm

        There’s a 0% chance Hedman hits UFA

        • May 25, 2016 at 5:31 pm

          They may not have a choice in the matter. They’ll have around $10mm to try and re-sign Stamkos if they get great deals on all their RFA’s in 2016-17.

          In 2017-18 the only players coming off the books are Bishop, Boyle & Hedman($12mm), with Drouin, Johnson, Palat, Sustr, Koekkoek & Vasilievsky all looking at raises as RFAs.

          If Stamkos stays, Tampa has a very sticky wicket to solve.

  • May 25, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    We won’t even sniff at Stamkos, not with Stepan and Brasard still on the roster. We would then have 1a, 1b and 1c centers!

    Stamkos is a 26 y/o stud who you build around. A team like Carolina (if they were smart) should gobble him up. Buffalo, should think about adding him to take pressure off of their kids. The NYC media would eat him up alive once he goes 5 games without a point. How about we go into 2016/2017 with a $70M roster and 6 picks in the first 3 rounds in next years draft. Enough wiggle room to add a player at the deadline if we are close, but still have some cash in hand to play next year.

  • May 25, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    The Rangers have proven they can win without Nash so moving him creates cap space and brings back assets.

    If you then HAVE cap space and Stamkos is available – you HAVE to look at that situation and see if it makes sense.

    We already have depth at center although, not necessarily quality depth. But that gives us other potential pieces that can be moved for other needed assets including draft picks.

    This offseason is critical – but just signing Stamkos alone – is not going to do it. There needs to be moves on multiple levels. Even if Stamkos isn’t signed there needs to be moves on multiple levels.

    Yzerman has the Cap Headache that every GM would love to have. Sooooo much talent and a hard cap. I don’t see how they keep him. The Bolts have proven they can win without him and his $Millions help shore up the team for a few more years.

    And after next season Hedman, Bishop and Brain Boyle are all UFA. I do like Alec’s idea of going after Hedman but one year at a time.

    FYI – Stamkos can actually net more money on a lower contract by staying in Tampa because of the lack of State Income Tax. There is a good article on this from a Bolts beat writer from back in January – if you are interested.

    • May 29, 2016 at 7:47 am

      Nash can make up difference in endorsements! Look around NY. All you see is Lundquist face… Stamkos would be huge in city. Also, I don’t understand how salary cap isn’t adjusted so teams in states with higher taxes can compete for FA’s.

  • May 25, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    I agree with trying to deal Nash/Girardi/Staal…If Stamkos is a target, and we land him,then we’d probably be looking at trading Stepan or Brassard as well. 1st priority should be moving Staal this year, then Girardi next season.. If anyone wants Nash, let him go. Personally, I’d like us to go after Okposo.

    • May 25, 2016 at 5:38 pm

      “If anyone wants Nash” He’s an incredible player signed for two years at a fair cap hit. Few have exceeded his production over the last few seasons. Why is he someone you are desperate to get rid of???

      • May 29, 2016 at 7:42 am

        Would rather trade Staal and Girardi, but they have no move clauses. Nash can be traded and more possible because he does have some value.

  • May 25, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    If you want Stamkos …. Nash and Sieveqvist need to be moved

    • May 25, 2016 at 5:17 pm

      Not Staal and Girardi…Nash and “Sieveqvist”…are you kidding me?

      • May 27, 2016 at 10:04 pm

        well yeah the other dead weight too,thats obvious

        • May 27, 2016 at 10:06 pm

          not to keen on signing Stamkos … I think he will turn out to be another Nash for some reason … Tamapa is way deep

  • May 26, 2016 at 2:25 am

    I’m all for dumping G&orStaal and trading Nash to ger Stamkos. ? not a mistake at all imo.

  • May 26, 2016 at 8:54 am

    stamkos is part of the bolts future and Stevie Y will sign him we need to let the future come here and play

  • May 29, 2016 at 7:35 am

    Wow, you talk about Stamkos like his best years are behind him? He’s 26. Nash will be 32 in 2 weeks!! No brainer. If you can move Nash, do it. I’ve seen rumors of a trade to Oilers for Yakupov? That would work. He’s only got 1 year left at 2.5…. If we where to sign Stamkos, you’d have to move a center and B Jackets are looking. Send Stepan and his 6.5 for Atkinson(3.5) That’s 8 million towards Stamkos!! Can easily make numbers work and next season we get rid of Girardi. Would like to resign Yandle, but unless we can move Staal I don’t see how.

    • May 29, 2016 at 7:39 am

      Also, if Tampa resigns him, we’ll never get past them in playoffs. You have to look at whoever gets him, we’ll have to play them. Signing him should be a priority

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