Gauging Brendan Smith’s next contract

Brendan smith
Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

As Jeff Gorton, Glen Sather, and Alain Vigneault meet to discuss the offseason plans, one of their major talking points will surely be the blue line. The futures of Dan Girardi and Marc Staal will certainly be the focal point, but there is still a need retool the defense to something that resembles a Stanley Cup blue line.

A good portion of that discussion will be centered around retaining Brendan Smith. As Pat pointed out earlier this month, retaining him is critical. While the cost was steep (2018 2nd and a 2017 3rd), that is sunk cost at this point. The main reason, at least to me, why he needs to be retained is because he is a solid top-four option on the right side, something the Rangers sorely need.

Smith, an unrestricted free agent, put up a line of 1-3-4 in 18 games with the Rangers following the deadline, good for a full season total of 3-6-9 in 51 games. That’s an 82 game pace of 5-10-15, which is about on par with his career scoring average. Smith is not a noted scorer, but is still a solid defender who does a lot of the little things right. He was very clearly in the top-three of Rangers defensemen once acquired through the end of the playoffs.

Like with gauging Mika Zibanejad’s next deal, we need to find comparable contracts to Smith. Smith is coming off his two-year deal that paid him $3.25 million last season, with a cap hit of $2.75 million. This is proving to be tricky, as defensemen that don’t put up points regularly are very difficult to gauge. Smith doesn’t have the reputation as a “stay at home” defenseman either.

We are going to get into a little bit of a stretch with some of the comparable contracts, so I’m probably going to spend some time convincing myself that these are comparable to what Smith will get. So let’s break down some of the criteria used. All players listed as comparable to Smith will have:

  • Signed his previous contract at age 26 and hit free agency at age 28.
  • Had his contract year within 20% of Smith’s salary.
  • Not had a point explosion during this contract.
  • Not be terrible at the position (that actually eliminated a few guys).
  • Not be a journeyman (that eliminated a few as well).
  • Be somewhat similar in style of play.

With all that in place, I came up with three contracts, and they are all over the damn place.

The first that came up was Jason Demers, who unfortunately puts up double the amount of points as Smith. However he does meet the above criteria, so hooray! I’m going with Demers here because we can use him to set a ceiling on Smith’s value. Demers signed with Florida this past summer for five years and a $4.5 million cap hit. That’s a very good thing for the Rangers, as Demers regularly put up 30 points over an 82 game pace, and Smith is at half that. So….win!

The next comparable contract was Carl Gunnarsson. He put up roughly the same stats in his contract year (3-6-9, but over 72 games, not 51). But the interesting thing here is that he signed for less than his final year’s salary ($3.45 million). His three year, $2.9 million contract is likely the lowest of the low. Smith will get more than that for sure.

Cody Franson actually came up as a comparable contract, which I found to be interesting. He came off a one year deal worth $3.3 million and turned into two years with a $3.325 million contract. Franson was a little weird, since he put up 30 points regularly, but played so poorly following his trade deadline move to Nashville that it cost him in free agency. Smith isn’t getting $3.325 million, he will come in over that.

Not included in the list of comparable contracts in Capfriendly was Niklas Hjalmarsson, which could actually be the closest we come to a comparable deal. Hjalmarsson came off a contract year making $3.5 million and turned it into a five year deal with a $4.1 million cap hit. He put up 19 points in his contract year, which is close. I think we are at the contract that might turn into Smith’s. So let’s go with this one.

Smith is a UFA, so he’s not going to settle for a short term deal. Teams will be lining up to sign a top-four defenseman who can play on both sides. He’s not flashy, he’s not offensively gifted, but he’s steady and a good skater. Kind of fits in with the Hjalmarsson comparison. Personally, $4.1 million over five years (expiring at age 33) is right in the terms of comfort for me. If it’s that contract, let’s hope the Rangers lock him up before he hits the open market.

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  • Thanks Dave, and great work on the comps.
    I’d love to see $4.1M over four, but still think a term of 5 at that figure is palatable…

  • Like Jerry above, I suspect that the range should be in the area of $4 to $4.5, and no more than four years. That would be fair to all parties concerned, and Smith can resign another contract if he still wants to play longer, at a later date!!!!!!!

  • Agree with the great investigative work Dave. Give him 2 years at 4.1, 2 years at 4.3 and call it done at 4 years total. If he needs a 5th year, make it a 2 way option at 4.5, that both have to agree on.

  • A 5 year deal might be a little too long. The way he plays the game, he might go the same route as Giradi.
    I can see a 3 yr $14m deal with a 4th year club option.

  • Smith plays a lot like Kevin Klein a few years back. If the Rangers do sign him in the off season how long will it take for him to become the new scapegoat?

  • If you do sign let it be without a NTC _NMC built into it . 4 to 4.5 is fair for Smith but if he hits the open market some team will over pay and give him a NMC , that is just the nature of the beast

  • I have that memory of the missed check along the boards in game 6 in my mind. I know it’s only one play, and we have really set the bar low for a 4 million dollar a year defenseman. But, if the cap isn’t going to rise, and suddenly you are going to pay him over 4, Shatty over 6.5-7, a couple of years down the road Blue Seat Blogs will be filled with posters complaining about how old our D-Corps is. And how we can’t unload them.

    Time to go with youth. Even if we suffer a bit, like we should have this year.

    Not to say let’s not re-sign him, but let’s go 3 in the vicinity of 4.

  • Sign Smith, he is the only D man on the roster with a steel set of balls. He is a younger, faster , meaner version of Klein ( who like Girardi and Staal) has seen his best years go by. Still think they should have kept Mcllrath. Try to get this Josh Manson kid from Anaheim.

    • I agree with both (Manson and kept Mcilrath!!!! a backend of Mcdonagh,Smith, Skjei,Graves,Manson,Clenndenning/Kampfer is not too bad..
      we have some offense,some crease clearers, were younger. And Shattenkirk even though he would be a good pickup,, however too expensive..would require too long of a contract.

    • Bobby B,
      Spot on comments again! Yes like klein but better!!! The boy can play and is willing to be physical and answer back when necessary, and boy can he fight, which makes him more valuable to us.
      Yup, this post season showed we miss McIlrath! We had no one to replace stall, holden and girardi …………and he is better than all three……I do like holden , he has a nasty streak and is good offensively…..but in his own end???/

      • Rich, Joe, Bobby, I’m sure McIlrath could be had back from Grand Rapids. what equivalent value would you be willing to trade to get him?

        • A late round pick. I’m sure if Vigneault was not the coach he would’ve gotten the chance he deserved, instead of sitting behind Boyle,Staal,Girardi..

          • There will be no need for that. He will be an UFA and can sign anywhere he wants after the season. Folks covering the Wings think he will not be re-signed.

            As I think about it, you may be on to something here. After all, it was AV and the Rangers who clearly have shown the most faith in the kid so far and actually gave him substantial NHL playing time. Every other NHL organization has concluded that he’s not an NHL player at the moment. So yeah…bring back the Undertaker! Why the heck not?

            At the very least, he’s certainly proven he can help out on the AHL level.

          • Every NHL coach and GM passed on the kid, so I’m sure that’s actually NOT the case. But, hey, those AHL coaches…they love him! 🙂

            I love this Minions Cult! Living in a fantasy world.

          • I have no idea what that even means. What I am appealing to is common sense.

            He’s a minor league player this year. I doubt seriously that EVERY, SINGLE team whiffed on this. They all saw him play nearly half a season on the NHL level. They all have access to the same stats that all the Minions have trotted out that proves that AV was wrong and should have played him more. He’s a physical RH defenseman with a powerful shot. Those are qualities that are in short supply and teams would be fighting over.

            There are always those rare exceptions (Kurt Warner comes to mind) where there is a major miss. But a number one draft choice that everyone knew about and saw play on the highest pro level? EVERYONE passes–twice? Can you think of one example? I can’t.

            What is obvious is this–there were at least 210 NHL defensive positions available this year (six starters and assume one back-up). McIlrath was probably in the bottom 10% of those defensemen in 2015-16. He didnt even make the cut this past year.

            The good news for McIlrath is that next year, there, will be at least 7 more spots available. The bad news is, as for most prospects who are as old as McIlrath now is, there are lots of young kids who are making their way to the. NHL who have as much or more a ability than he has who are also looking at those same extra jobs.

            So the question is, taking all the silly overblown nonsense out of the equaiton, is McIlrath one of the 217 best defensemen in the world? Or more importantly, will he be next year?

            Time will tell if he can still author a happy ending to a story that seems unlikely to end that way.

          • Lol, arguing with a person who doesn’t know what a logical fallacy is. I must be an idiot

          • And of course, you didnt even bother to respond to the points, which is no surprise–since I suspect it would be hard to really have one. Somehow, your bogus premise that “everyone in authority…all 30 teams, are wrong and we, the Minions of McIlrath, are the ones who are right”, somehow, sorry to say, I’m having a little trouble buying into that line of thinking.

            When there is something wrong with my teeth, I’ll probably trust a professional dentist to help me out as opposed to the pretend “quack” down the street. Same deal for those who make millions doing this for a living. Doesn’t mean they are always right and cant be wrong, because of course they can. But how unbelievably arrogant one must be to assume that just because you have a belief about something, that you MUST be right and all the professionals who do this for a living are wrong.

            I just don’t get all that caught up in emotion involving whether a player should play or not. Maybe it comes from my days on the beat, and now in my current role running a news operation. As a fan, it comes from too many years of hearing about totally over-hyped prospects that rarely come close to said expectations.

            Many Rangers fans are still smarting from the Rolfe-Schultz fight from 43 years ago. We MUST find our champion that will kick the crap out of anyone who tries to push us around. And we will create whatever justification is necessary to advocate for him playing–regardless of what the actual scouting reports are.

            I save my emotions for the games themselves. I trust management to make the moves they need to win. If they don’t make the right moves, eventually, they will be gone. I dont waste a lot of time advocating for the “sun to rise in the west” as you Minions seem to do just because you might want it to. I deal in reality, not fantasy. And the reality is, today, McIlrath is NOT an NHL player. Next year? We shall see.

          • I didn’t respond because there is no point. I am at an inherent disadvantage; my arguments are bound by necessity to make sense logically.

            You, however, are bound by no such constraints, because all you do is spout your opinions with little regard for fact (unless you’re going to question the validity of the statistics I invoke?)

            And, furthermore, when pressed into this, you generally whip out the ‘correlation is now causation’ nonsense with irrelevant information that would make even Pierre green with envy regarding how many regular season wins AV has accumulated, etc.

            Martin St. Louis is a perfect counter to the idiocy which you insist upon spewing. Another one (an even better example, actually) is Gordie Howe!

            If you can’t be bothered to google ‘appeal to authority’, and what that is (but, more importantly, *why* it’s a logical fallacy), then you cannot seriously expect someone to reiterate to the nth degree what has been said over & over again, nor should you expect to be taken for anything other than a paid-for (and relatively benign) troll.


            ” When there is something wrong with my teeth, I’ll probably trust a professional dentist to help me out as opposed to the pretend “quack” down the street. Same deal for those who make millions doing this for a living. Doesn’t mean they are always right and cant be wrong, because of course they can. But how unbelievably arrogant one must be to assume that just because you have a belief about something, that you MUST be right and all the professionals who do this for a living are wrong.”

            Lol, look! A strawman argument hidden inside of an appeal to authority.

            Now that’s what I call efficiency.

          • Man….you certainly live up to your name. You might be the “Angriest” guy out here. You really need to calm down and cool it with your childish insults.

            MSL and Gordie Howe? Seriously?

            MSL was an undrafted free agent. It took him years to figure out his game and once he did, he took off. Credit to him. But that doesnt mean that everyone was wrong about him. That simply means he wasn’t ready at the time and through his hard work, he got there. But at the time, I would bet even he would agree, he wasn’t ready.

            There was no draft back in the 40s. Yes, it’s true that Howe was another late bloomer, and clearly that was a miss. But do you know how RARE those kind of stories are. For every Howe and MSL there are hundreds of guys who were highly touted who never made it at all. Talk about a strawman’s argument! (I love how some of you will turn to that phrase when you have nowhere else to go! It’s hilarious! Don’t like the argument, even if factual—bring out the strawman!!!!)

            I have no idea what you are railing at me about. I am stating facts. Fact–he was waived twice and no one wanted him. This was AFTER he played a half season for the Rangers and apparently was a fancy stats darling according to all of his Minions. Why would NO team select him then? There was no such data out there for Howe and MSL back then. Just the eye test. McIlrath obviously did NOT pass the eye test this past year and obviously the statistical analysis we have access to only tells part of the story.

            And again, I am not saying he will never make it. Who knows what the future holds? All I’m saying is, he was judged by all 30 franchises, including the one who is currently employing him, as NOT NHL caliber at the moment. Doesn’t mean he won’t be down the road.

            But realistically, is he likely to become a difference maker player? Probably not. More likely to be a borderline 6D/7D journeyman, if he makes it at all.

            Maybe in your world view facts don’t matter. In my world, facts are everything. I’ve presented mine. I invite you present yours that support your argument that McIlrath is, TODAY, an NHL defenseman. And if you can do it without acting like an unhinged “Angry” guy, you will get extra credit! 🙂

            Most of all, try to have a calm, respectful debate. You can do better.

          • “For every Howe and MSL there are hundreds of guys who were highly touted who never made it at all.”

            That’s not your strawman argument. I’ll get to that in a moment. Rather…..

            That’s what an appeal to authority (since you’re obviously not gonna check what it means) is by definition!

            … Just because ‘someone’s in charge’ doesn’t mean that they A) know what they are doing and B) it certainly doesn’t mean what they do is beyond reproach. They all make plenty of mistakes; the great ones just make fewer.

            I didn’t say that scouts/GM’s are always wrong; I’m just correctly pointing out that it makes no sense to call their judgement as irrefutable evidence to back up an argument, given the aforementioned. Hence why you’re wrong to invoke that.

            As for the strawman arguments…. where do I begin? You constantly say crap, specifically to me, that I’m acting as if we should not only send a private jet over to pick Dylan up, but have a lifetime contract ready & waiting on a table inside.

            In reality, all I’ve said is we gave him a raw deal so we could (foolishly) continue trotting out G & Staal like it was 2009. And, yes, even McIlwrath would’ve been a superior choice over what AV tossed out there in these playoffs.

            That’s a strawman argument – acting as if a person is assuming an irrational position, then attacking the argument you’ve created as if it were theirs. It’s one of your favorites, and you’ve fairly drawn a great deal of criticism for it.

            As for the last bit, lol…. you’re the guy calling people ‘minions’…

          • Oh boy….well at least you were a little calmer this time! 🙂

            Where did I say that scouts/GMs coaches are always right? Of course they make mistakes. The only thing I have said–repeatedly–is that AV, who was taken to the woodshed over not playing McIlrath more, and that Gorton, who chose to waive McIlrath and then trade him, had their judgment “validated” 60 times (waived twice). Maybe they will all be proven wrong, that’s more than fair and possible. But, a) history says it’s a long shot and b) even if that happens the chances he will be something more than borderline 3rd pair guy is not real strong.

            So the point is, I’m not trying to predict what will happen tomorrow. I’m not nearly smart enough to be able to judge what will happen with any player downt he road. I’m simply commenting on what has been and what is. So I think it’s a stretch to say that EVERYBODY in the NHL community is wrong here. And the idea that McIlrath would have made any kind of difference on the Rangers in their quest to advance this year, given what happened with him this season, is really hard to support and buy into. Truthfully, it’s “fan boy” talk. Which is ok I guess, because we are fans.

            As for the “Minions” thing, you are new out here. That was a joke that was started two years ago when, during that off-season, several folks were just over the moon about McIlrath and his potential. I disagreed and said that the guy to watch among Rangers defensemen was Skjei. We all debated it. So I playfully tabbed McIlrath’s supporters as “Minions” and those of us who believed in Skjei were from the “Society of Skjei” (the latter of which was lame and I should have just made it “Brady’s Bunch”, but that’s been done to death).

            Anyway, I think Dave is right. This is a tiresome argument. He is what he is right now. What he will be will be dertermined soon enough.

            I offer a truce. 🙂

          • I guess I’ll respond to this one more time.

            “Where did I say that scouts/GMs coaches are always right? Of course they make mistakes. The only thing I have said–repeatedly–is that AV, who was taken to the woodshed over not playing McIlrath more, and that Gorton, who chose to waive McIlrath and then trade him, had their judgment “validated” 60 times ”

            That’s my point – that’s an appeal to authority.

            Now, if you wanted to say, “Dylan sucks because *tangible & easy to acquire data here*”, well, I’d have no problem with that; that we can have a discussion about.

            Here’s the point I’ve been trying to make. Invoking the collective opinions of the NHL, a league which there is no shortage of bad things to say about….. well, like I said, the best GM’s are just the guys who made the fewest mistakes relative to the hand they were dealt.

            Unless you’d like to argue that Chicago & LA (among others; think of all the post ’05 lockout cup winners) are perfectly run organizations?

            Of course not. LA & CHI are both needlessly screwed by contracts they offered, and PIT has only succeeded because of their f#^%ing stars (as said correctly by torts). BOS could have had more success, but they decided irreplaceable talent was less important than ‘style & attitude’ or whatever. Surely you see where this is going…

          • Interesting. I do see your perspective Dog but i just dont think that way. You seem to be very “anti-authority”. I am admittedly more “pro-authority”. Part of the reason is that I covered a lot of pro teams and got to know a lot of different coaches and GMs over the years–many of whom I greatly respect. (a few I blasted over the years so certainly not always “Pro”). One of my closest friends and mentors is a HOF GM (different sport). That guy was brilliant. Most of those that I have met are pretty smart, and even when they were wrong, they usually had a logical reason for why they did what they did, even if the public didnt get it.

            I don’t automatically dismiss opinions of people just because they have achieved a certain status. Nor do I automatically assume they are always right. But lets put it this way. If I was going to produce a story on borderline minor league/major league prospects and wanted to assess whether they truly had a great chance of making it, I think i would mostly use as source material scouts and GMs who do this for a living. Not random guys in the stands at MSG or on a blog. Doesn’t mean the guy in the stands or the blog might not be right and the pro wrong. But more often than not, the guy who does this for a living is the one to trust. When we try and get information on news stories, we are going to go to reliable sources for proper background. Not some random person with an opinion that may or may not have a true expertise in the subject matter.

            The ironic thing here is, all I did was respond to Joe’s comment when he said “if AV was not the coach (McIlrath) would have gotten a chance.” And since 30 coaches and GMs weighed in on that already, that would appear to be a highly unlikely supposition that he made. So I stand by my comment. If a different current NHL coach was coaching the Rangers, it seems highly probable that McIlrath’s fate would have been the same. That was my ONLY point.

            Anyway, you and I are just wired differently when it comes to folks in authority. Nothing wrong with your view and nothing wrong with mine.. We will just have to agree to disagree.

          • To be fair Eddie, I think you’re misunderstanding me. I did not mean for this to get so hostile (even if I, admittedly a bit unfairly, respond to your posts more harshly than others).

            I’m not really ‘Anti-Authority’ (or whatever that means today, i guess) or pro, it’s just the formal name given to that particular line of thinking, and the reasoning behind why it is invalid as proof in an argument.

            Even if what you’re arguing may be correct.

            Also… I never said that GM’s aren’t more likely to ‘get things right’ than any given drunk guy in the stands. That’s a bit ridiculous, and I’m sorry I did not clarify that earlier (although, in Buffalo….)

            I just said that invoking their collective opinions as irrefutable proof is technically, from a logical perspective, a fallacy (even if what you’re saying might be true!). And, forgive me for going there but, technically, you used another strawman argument…

          • Fair enough. You are passionate about what you believe. I respect that. And in thinking about what you are saying, I think you have a more than valid point that I had not fully considered, so I am grateful for your tenacity in pointing it out.

            But since we both seem determined to get the last word in, may I simply offer this? 🙂

            I do not believe I have EVER said that a group of people who weigh in with an opinion can ever be offered up as “irrefutable” proof that their judgment is correct. There are very few things in this world that are “irrefutable” anyway, except an end result. Scouts and GMs can watch Aaron Judge swat a baseball right now and say, wow, this guy is going to be the greatest baseball player of all time. Or they might say that he will eventually be “figured out” and exposed. Or something in the middle. It took Judge and Sanchez some time to figure the game out. The same could happen with McIlrath. That’s unknowable and beyond my ability to judge one way or another.

            Indeed, McIlrath deserves praise not scorn for overcoming a serious knee injury to even get as far as he has gotten. He must have the heart of a lion. His work ethic must be off the charts and he apparently earned the respect of his now former Rangers teammates in short order. He is someone everyone should root for, especially if you like a “feel good, overcome the odds and the skeptics” story that most of us enjoy. (And even if it means me having to endure the “I told you so”s from the “Minions” at some point!)

            I rarely report or comment on what will be. I would make a lousy fortune teller. I just enjoy playing “connect the dots” and try to get to the truth of the matter. So back when this never-ending debate started, I was skeptical because, a) I always am cautious with prospects that aren’t labeled can’t miss…and even then…., and, b) the scouting reports out there weren’t exactly glowing. They were more marginal in nature. So I simply advised caution on projecting McIlrath as an impact, difference making player.

            In truth, I thought he played reasonably well last year. He exceeded my expectations, which were low to begin with. He was more than competent I thought. The Rangers liked what they saw and re-signed him. If you had said to me then that the kid would be gone within the first month of the season, and then waived twice and go unclaimed by the rest of the league, I would have found that to be pretty hard to believe. But that goes to prove my point. We only have part of the information. Part of the story. If we could sit down (as I have done in the past) and ask some sources one could trust. “Why did this happen?”, one would likely get an answer that, frankly, never occurred to us and upon reflection makes sense. There usually is a logic behind these evaluations.

            So one last time, I want to pont this out clearly. I may invoke again the “30 GMs and coaches have all weighed in…” argument and I don’t want to be accused of going to a “strawman argument”. All I did was respond to Joe’s point, which was if the Rangers had a different HC, McIlrath would still be on the Rangers. I stand by my comment, which is that based on what took place this past year, it would be pretty difficult to make that conclusion, since ALL current management teams weighed in on this…twice.

            What happens in the future remains to be seen.

          • 3E,
            Don’t forget 32 teams passed on tom brady 6-7 times????
            He will be back [or not] and either you [or I] will have to eat some crow!

          • Again Rich, that’s a totally preposterous comparison. Tom Brady hadn’t played on the NFL level. He was barely a starter during his time in Michigan. So of course he wasn’t drafted high. Neither was Joe Montana.

            But do you think that, after each had played a half a season in the NFL (as McIlrath did for the Rangers) if they had been waived…TWICE….that NO team would have picked either of them up? I highly doubt it.

            That is the most off the wall apples to oranges comparison imaginable.

            As for eating crow, I most certainly won’t be. I’ve said over and over that no one can predict the future. A player can emerge. McIlrath must know this is likely his last chance coming up. He will fight hard to make it somewhere, and he just might. But even if he does make it, NHL history suggests that the odds of him being anything more than a marginal 6D/7D is highly improbable.

            So nope, no crow. I have made no predictions about his future. I’ve only commented on what he has been and what he is…not what he will be.

          • Interesting question for you 3E….
            How many of the 210 defensive players in the NHL are there because
            1. they are better than mcilrath?
            2. they cant be cut or waived ?

            on the rangers alone he is better than girardi, stall, holden and klein…….
            But since stall and girardi cant be waived… even if he is better it doesn’t matter…..
            And how many other teams have a defenseman or two who aren’t good anymore but cant be waived??

          • Does it matter? Haven’t you heard? “Professionals” doled those contracts out.

            We, not being professionals, clearly must be wrong (otherwise we’d be getting paid)!

            That’s Eddie logic for ya … double the fallacies… triple the fun!

          • Rich-

            Now on that, you make a very valid point that I agree with and can’t really dispute. There are obviously factors that go into the “Top 210” that are beyond an up and coming player’s control. So more than fair.

            But, I’m not so sure that your subjective supposition that McIlrath is “better” than the four you mentioned is correct. That’s an opinion. We may get an idea of that this summer when McIlrath, along with possibly some of those guys you mentioned, are out there as free agents. I have a feeling you will be surprised that other GMs value those guys more than McIlrath. But I have no facts to support it.

            What I DO know though is indisputable. He played in the organization of two teams that struggled this year and were not playoff teams. Florida barely played him. Detroit, even after losing Smith, didn’t even give him a sniff on the NHL level. He was no more than a throw in in the trade. And the word is that, despite the fact that he has played well in Grand Rapids, the Wings, a rebuilding team, have no interest in bringing him back for a good look next year. If that proves to be true, isn’t that yet ANOTHER piece of evidence that suggests that he may not be NHL material?

            And again, let’s assume your point is correct about the “Top 210” and the issue of contracts influencing decisions. No doubt that is true to an extent. But if the kid was waived TWICE, why wouldn’t a team in contention want him? Better yet, why wouldn’t a rebuilding team like Arizona or Colorado take a chance on him? Or any team with cap space? And yet, no bites? TWICE? I dont think these points can be easily dismissed as irrelevant.

            Again, no one knows what will happen next year. I think it was Gallant who said rather bluntly that McIlrath needs significant work on his skating. Maybe he is going to double down on that this summer and try to make major improvements in that regard.

            So whatever happens next year is irrelevant to what will happen next year. This year, he is NOT an NHL player. Next year he could be. Or, he could be the next Ken Gernander-a guy who’s a really good pro who’s not quite good enough to play regularly on the NHL level but can excel on the AHL level.

            To be determined.

          • By that point, there was no way McIlrath could play enough games to be qualified, so zero motivation to expose him to other clubs widely. Work on his game down on the farm, es-sign on the cheap. Create value where there was none. That’s what the Red Wings do.

            This is one of those aspects where the coach & GM need to work together to maximize assets and both failed.

          • To be fair, I disagree on Dan Boyle. He was better than many of you think.

      • Rich

        Please stop it with DMR, if he would have dropped the gloves, AV would have him shipped to Siberia. What good would he have been for us there???????? We do indeed need some muscle on the blue line, we like to dance too much back there!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • I think the ANA organization really likes Manson. I know most of their fans seem to. He might cost a ransom of a return that we just can’t offer without going backwards in the net result. That’s just speculation on my behalf though, of course…they definitely could use another quality forward on their roster which of course the Rangers could offer with various names, and they have a handful of solid young defensemen who are either already on the team or should be soon to replace any departures. Manson would be a great add IMO…but I wouldn’t expect him to come cheap is all.

      • From what I’ve seen on Ducks blogs (not that I visit them much), fans see Manson as a beast who must be kept. Most are ok with dealing Vatanen and even Fowler, but are bullish on Manson, Montour, and Theodore (the last one I don’t really get).

          • One of my best friends is a Ducks fan, and Vatanen kind of lost his faith this season. He’s a legit knowledgeable fan, so that kind of concerns me.

            To note, Vatanen makes decent enough money on his current contract. Fowler will be up for a new contract after next season, I believe. ANA ownership does not generally like to operate against the cap, and my thinking is they will shop either of those two before listening to offers for any of the younger cost-controlled dudes, but again that’s just speculation. I follow the Ducks as my second/other division team though, for what it’s worth. I’ve never cared for the Kings, and living in LA from 2005 until about a month ago, I latched on to them as my “local” rooting interest.

            Theodore is/was a very highly touted prospect. He was projected as a potential (not to be confused with can’t miss) top pair two way defender not too long ago. At just 21, I don’t think that can be ruled out by any means, even though he hasn’t exactly torn it up in his NHL chances so far. That said, 17 points in 53 career NHL games for a kid who very well may have a long way to develop still isn’t terrible, either.

  • Knowing what we know now – would you still make the trade and give up a 2nd and a 3rd for Smith as a rental?

    • My initial instinct is to say no, simply given that we didn’t at least make the ECFs…but if he can be had for a reasonable contract…and AV removes his cranium from his anus and plays him on P2 with Skjei consistently and for proper minutes…I think he could be worth the trade cost in hindsight.

      There’s nothing about Smith that is amazing, but to me, he does a lot of the little things at a solid level. There’s something to be said for that, especially for a team in the defensive predicament that the Rangers are. He does have a little bite to his game – which I don’t think wins championships anymore by a long shot, but as long as it isn’t a gimmick to insert at the cost of another more skilled player, I certainly have no issue with it.

      I think it is folly to look at it as “Yeah, but, Smith would be on the third pair of (insert defensively stacked team) so we would be out of our minds to pay him $4M a year!”…not saying anyone specific has said that exactly, but that sentiment is out there. Someone is going to pay him, and I personally feel he will be a reliable enough defender over the next 4, maybe 5 years. He’s easily second line right now and for perhaps for years on the Rangers if utilized properly, and that’s all that really concerns me.

    • That’s a great question Swarty……

      Hindsight is always 20/20, so if I knew then what I know now, early exit, I probably would not have made that trade and kept the two picks.

      That said, if Gorton is able to sign him and get even a slight discount because Smith has experienced the Ranger organization, then I think the two picks were worth it.

      I hope Smith can overlook the fact AV “lost him and Brady on the bench” situation.

      • While you can’t always know for sure with these things, Smith’s agent has said that Smith would like to come back. He enjoyed the whole Rangers “experience” as I think he put it. My hunch is that the whole “lost on the bench thing” is a bigger deal out here than it was in the room.

        As usual, this decision will most likely come down to the financials, the term and other guarantees.

        • It was a bigger deal on the scoreboard than anywhere else.

          Brendan Smith knows he is a better option to defend a lead late in a game than Girardi or Staal or Holden, just the same as we do. Most players aren’t going to say it to the press, they aren’t going to pout, they aren’t going to start stuff in the room about it, and they certainly aren’t going to refuse a contract offer that works for them and their family in every other way.

          If my boss wants to put someone who can’t compare to my performance on The Big Project when he could put me on it, fine. I still get paid either way, and I’m not looking for another place to work just because of it.

          As you say yourself – financials, term, and other guarantees matter quite a bit. If he re-signs in NY, that in no way means he’s not fully aware that the coach is trusting lesser defenders than him when the coach shouldn’t be.

    • I like his game although I agree with Eg – nothing amazing about him but he carries a bit of an edge which is good to see.

      I am not really sure he made a difference either way but I do look at him as an upgrade to what we have so I hope we can sign him for something reasonable.

      Maybe this July sanity will kick back in and we can talk about three-year deals for guys as opposed to five and six years which almost always ends badly – at least for us…

      Honestly I’m just really tired of giving up draft picks on deadline day.

    • come on Dave, this is fun, and E3 gets to write his novels, which makes for repeat reading, you have to love the Minions thing!!!!!!!!!

      • Not a novel, a movie script.

        What happened was this: AV was taking a stroll around town, and saw that McLr took Glass out on a date to a bookstore. And that Glass bought McLr an erotic novel. Now, being overprotective of his favorite child, AV benched McLr, which angered the fan base.

        The allegations that Gorton waved him are libel, since McLr left the team in a huff to go back to his father’s farm to work on his boxing.

        He may still change his mind and somehow return to a team already in the playoffs, reunite with his best friend, and get AV’s permission to woo Glass.

        Also, Keanu Reeves was the goalie, but was too good looking, so some haters called him overrated and leaky

        End of movie

    • In the interest of keeping this on topic….

      Yes, they’d be insane not to sign Smith for anything over 4.5 for 5 or so. He’s a good player.

      What scares me about Franson is he failed in a system that has, for the most part, always had high quality guys in abundance. That, and, he couldn’t crack the top 6 in Buffalo

  • With the economic decline in Russia now affecting the KHL ,does this increase the chances that the Rangers could try and negotiate a buyout of some of the players in the league?

    • Maybe, but I think they may want their goalie (Shestyorkin) there at the moment, given that there is not enough room in the NA systems.

    • I think 2 teams in the KHL were contracted so the decline is starting to cause teams to fold. Hence players like Kovy wanting back into the NHL. It’s the beginning of the end for the KHL, IMO.

  • Like it or not, it appears like Smith would need to be given 5 years to stay here. I think he’s worth it. So 5 years at $4M per.

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