A Modest Proposal Part III: Offseason Entertainment Edition

marc staal
The dog days of summer are once again upon us, with little news breaking or fun happening. This week the only bit of excitement to go down was Mika Zibanejad renewing for another five years at $5.35m per. Since that wasn’t enough though what I’m going to do here is propose some more fun and games – and something that would actually make the team better to boot. That’s right folks, it’s time to toil in futility and speculate about a Marc Staal buyout.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, we already had our shot at buying out Staal and clearly he’s still on the team. The buyout window is closed and our beloved cyclops is still a New York Ranger. However, thanks to the aforementioned Zibanejad deal the Rangers now have a second buyout window and shifting circumstances make buying out Staal’s contract a prudent thing to do.

Due to a provision in the CBA, teams gain an extra buyout period that opens three days after their last arbitration case has been settled which lasts 48 hours. That means this weekend is go time for Jeff Gorton, who would do well to pay Staal his money and cut him loose. The argument isn’t primarily about cap space, but rather about the way in which Staal’s play and roster spot impact this team.
To he blunt and to the point, it really can’t be exaggerated how bad Marc Staal was last year on the Rangers. His play was only marginally better than Dan Girardi’s, who made less money as a Ranger than Staal currently does. Is Staal really worth $5.5m? For his level of play I’d say no, and while an argument could be made that playing him in sheltered scenarios on the third pair for limited minutes could be made, there is also a strong argument against doing such a thing.
First of all, even if you did that, he’d still be really very no joke seriously bad, just less bad than if he were being played against top guys for first pair minutes. Second, there’s (finally!) no good reason to do so, as the Rangers have, for the first time in what feels like forever, a glut of young, capable defensemen.
As it stands, the Rangers, ostensibly at least, have a third pair of Marc Staal and Nick Holden, with Bereglazov and DeAngelo as the presumptive seventh and eighth d-men. That still leaves out Neal Pionk, who should be NHL ready, and gives no chance to guys like Sean Day or Vincent Pedrie. There’s plenty of players waiting in the wings, and while Nick Holden can (and should) be readily traded Marc Staal unfortunately seems less attractive to GMs around the league. Hence, a buyout. Because why waste perfectly good, young talent up in the press box when they could be on ice in lieu of two aging veterans, one of whom has a gigantic contract.
Now I know what you’re thinking – that’s a lot of dead cap space, in addition to the penalty we’re already taking for buying out Dan Girardi. While I would point out that that’s a framing issue, seeing the situation as money paid against the cap instead of money saved against the cap (or are all Rangers fans glass half empty?) I think in the interest of fairness and letting you all make up your own minds, it’s only right for me to break down the numbers for you here. So this is how a Marc Staal buyout breaks down: for the next two years the Rangers would save $3.56m and pay a penalty of $2.13m, save $2.56m the year after that and pay a $3.13m cap hit, save $1.76m the following year while paying a cap hit of $3.93, and then take a cap hit of $1.43m with no savings for the 2021-25 seasons.
Adding that to the existing savings and costs of Dan Girardi’s buyout means we end up saving a total of $6.44m this year, $5.44m the next, and $4.44m the year after that while paying a total of $4.74m the first year, $5.74 the next, $6.74 the following year, and then $1.11m in addition to Staal’s buyout cap hit from 2020 through 2023.
Again all of this depends on how you look at it – you’re both saving money overall and paying a penalty for someone not to play for the team. The latter point is dampened by the fact that the Rangers finally have some cheap young defensive talent to subsidize the costs of paying those buyouts, at least for a few years until all of their next contracts kick in. Those are problems for another hot summer day when there’s nothing to talk about. For now, in the interests of both the team that needs improving and the fans that need offseason entertaining, please Gorts, buy out Marc Staal. Pretty please?

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  • Will be interested to hear what the BSB cap experts have to say, but your proposal sounds like a good fit. Metaphorically, let’s go to the dentist, suffer the pulled teeth and the bill, and move on.

    • 100% agreed Chuck.

      Also, need to take AV’s toys away from him so he can’t be tempted to play them any more.

      • AV is the move before JG can get a center. Every player loves him, right? No wonder the team is cupless now for 23 years, although he is responsible for the last 4. Seems management is on its way to 50 like this. Fish, or cut bait time is now!

        • I have heard that some people are for the Staal buyout and some are not. I would assume that AV is in the “are not” group.

  • 100% Pat, I have been saying this since the past season ended.

    Dead cap space? The Rangers had $14M between G, Staal, and KK, and they were on the ice losing games for us.

    Time to admit the mistakes and suffer the ramifications in order to give roster spots and ice time to younger players that can skate and actually be able to make up for their mistakes on the ice with good reaction skills.

    • The Rangers blueline prospects haven’t played a NHL game as of yet. Making the jump to the bigs is a huge step. Del Angelo is the closest, he has the skills and some experience. Odd how Girardi couldn’t do anything right, yet when he was bought out: he received multiple offers and was resigned in a New York minute with another NHL team.

      • His name is DeAngelo, first off–and secondly Dan Girardi was beyond horrendous in his last 2 seasons as a Ranger. Whether using the eye test or fancy stats or plain old regular stats, Girardi was abysmal. He can no longer skate well enough to defend against speedy forwards; his positioning has been negatively impacted by his lack of speed as well. Tampa will regret this signing quickly.

        Regarding “inexperienced” dmen–successful teams are throwing their youngsters out there more frequently these days…look at Dumoulin in Pittsburgh, he became the de facto #1 defenseman for them after Letang’s injury at age 25. Hedman in Tampa, Ekman-Larsson, Zach Werenski, and NYR’s own Brady Skjei have also been outstanding contributors to their teams at relatively young ages. At some point the kids oughta get their shot, it’s doubtful any of the young Ranger D could be worse than Girardi, Staal, Klein, Kampfer, or Holden.

        • Actually until Anthony can prove himself with AV and earn a spot, he will be referred to as Del Angelo..Dylan Del Angelo to be precise. Girardi is no longer a first pairing NHL Dman anymore, but was not abysmal.

          All the young dmen you mentioned above are all highly-touted 1st. round picks. The Rangers have no such defencemen in their system right now. They have prospects that will need time to develop to play with the big boys.

          • No such defensemen in their system? Brady Skjei doesn’t qualify? He was a 1st rd pick of the NY Rangers and played the whole year last year, remember? And DeAngelo is also a first round pick, as were Ryan McDonagh, Kevin Shattenkirk, Brendan Smith, and Marc Staal, so I have no idea what point you’re trying to make here. Potentially all 6 starting defensemen for NYR next year will be former first-round picks.

            Please cite any statistic to back up your assessment of Dan Girardi, I’ll wait…..his day is done. He’ll drag down Hedman or Coburn or anyone else Tampa plays him with.

          • All the former first round picks are on the big squad for the Rangers. And certainly DeAngelo and Skjei fit the description of young, highly touted defenders who were drafted in the first round.

          • Of course they give you the thumbs down for a well thought, reasonable opinion. Deangelo will need to prove he can play better defensively before he is just given an NHL roster spot – I personally hope he comes to camp and proves he can do it. No one is doubting his offensive talent, but if he just gets abused in the defensive zone (like Clendening repeatedly was), then he will not be an every night player, pure and simple.

          • “Of course they give you the thumbs down for a well thought, reasonable opinion”


            With all due respect to you both, the statement “Girardi is no longer a first pairing NHL Dman anymore, but was not abysmal” hardly qualifies as a ‘well thought, reasonable opinion’.

          • Seriously, anyone that has watched G, Staal, and Holden the last few years and decides that they are the better options vs. “anyone”, is not credible enough to opine on the situation.

            No disrespect intended.

        • And besides. If Girardi rediscovers himself in Tampa, that doesn’t mean we were all wrong about him either. Maybe a change of scenery, less pressure, and a chip on his shoulder, would all benefit him.

          If that happens, then good for him. Girardi is still a great person, dedicated player, and a warrior. Sometimes a breakup is beneficial to both parties

          • Absolutely, I love G and for what he tried to do here, no question. But he’s a bad hockey player no matter what he and Stevie Y may think.

            G thought he had a good year this past year.

          • That G’s stats are as bad as they have been.

            Did you know that his “shot suppression” stat is so bad that it does not even register a stat?

      • I understand that Bloomer, and point well taken on the prospects.

        But here’s my take and you can disagree, but the vets we had last year are players that should not be in the NHL, period. So anything other than them sounds pretty good to me.

        Why is it that people accept the gaffes that vets make but want to bench young players for making much less gaffes?

        Please, someone explain that to me like I am a 6 year old.

  • Money and cap space is definitely an issue. Bad deals happen all the time. Its not that you make a bad deal its how you recover. Winning the Cup is more important. Thatch the lawn! Let the new guys play. Marc has had his time and injuries working for the cause. Its not his fault he is overpaid. Those NMC and NTC can kill you, no? Stop giving them out JG, learn the lesson unless its a generational talent. Watch what happens when McD comes up after next year.

  • I couldn’t agree more. And I am pretty confident that JG can see the logic behind this. I bet Staal is not a Blue shirt by Monday morning.

  • Per SPC, the 48 hour period starts on the 3rd day, so they have until 7pm tonight to make any buyout.

  • Saving money is not what the Rangers worry about, it’s dead cap hit that is the matter, Buying both out the same year makes for brutal numbers as illustrated above, forcing you to go kiddie corps on D. The balloon after this year crimps the ability to take care of their RFA’s, go after an elite C and hinders roster construction in the 2-4 year horizon.

    If you can wait a year, here are the possibilities:
    1: He avoids concussion, has a productive season.
    2: Looking at the prospect of being buried in the press box, Staal waives his NTC during camp and goes to a team who is struggling to make the cap floor.
    3: If he makes it through the year, you now have the ability to deal him to a cap floor team.(Even if he’s a 9th D on the Coyotes, they would still trade for him if NYR retained salary, then bought him out. At the back end, they get cap hit for a serious discount )
    4: If all else fails, *then* you buy him out, lose two years of dead cap hit and stagger that balloon hit.

    Gorton obviously likes flexibility in his ability to manage the cap, and another buyout greatly restricts it. No need to panic now, plenty of time for that later.

    The bigger question is this: If you have to go through all this trouble in order to “take away the current coaches toys” why are you keeping the current coach?

    • After watching him the last couple of years, is assuming that he can have a productive year really a possibility?

      Buying him out accomplishes 2 things: Cap space and he doesn’t make any more gaffes that lose games for the Rangers.

      • When he’s not getting his bell rung like it’s the 1st day of school, he can be a serviceable #3 LD/7D. Again, it’s as much on the coach as it is him.

        What is the point of getting more cap space for this season at the expense of future seasons?? Is there a UFA available that I’m missing? You don’t need to buy him out to get Bozak if you deal Holden.

        I don’t see any real immediate value beyond getting rid of him for it’s own sake and a lt of long term pain out of it. And considering the time, this whole conversation is moot.
        Girardi had to be bought out due to expansion draft issues.

        • “What is the point of getting more cap space for this season at the expense of future seasons?? Is there a UFA available that I’m missing?”

          No UFA’s, but, if Day shows up & puts on a show, by virtue of having Staal in the lineup, we’ll be blocking him from playing.

          Also, there’s always the chance Staal comes out does a great Dan Girardi impression, in which case we’d have another 5.7 million in dead cap space (in addition to the aforementioned issue).

        • You do need to buy him out if you get Bozak because merely trading Holden is not enough. I did several armchair GMs and Staal would need to be bought out.

          And you also prove my point about Staal, he’s too hurt to be effective. Not his fault but that’s the reality, isn’t it? We should keep a guy because he was unlucky with injuries? This is about winning the Cup and don’t fret for Marc, he will still get paid, so no collection needed for him and his family.

          “I don’t see any real immediate value beyond getting rid of him for it’s own sake and a lt of long term pain out of it.”

          I mean have you actually watched him play recently? He can’t play, end of story. He’s slow and hurt, 2 very bad combos for a fast NHL game. His recovery is nonexistent because he’s incapable of making up for his mistakes.

          The point is at least younger and faster players can possibly recover after their mistakes because they have the skating ability to do so. Marc is a dying breed in the NHL, meaning that is you can’t skate then you’re not going to be able to be effective. Look at the players that Gorton is getting: guys that can skate.

          So the “benefit” is that AV doesn’t get to put a bad player out on the ice that he doesn’t have. And they gain valuable cap space to hopefully get a center. That’s not worth it?

          • Day is planning to play as a RD and spent most of his time in Windsor doing so, so Staal isn’t blocking him.

            Yes, I’ve seen Staal play(in person even!!) and he played well enough last season until he got his bell rung, then he was worthless.

            If you have to buy out Staal to do the Bozak deal and keep Holden, you’re doing armchair GM wrong.

          • If you’re doing an airmchair GM and you don’t have to buy out Staal then you’re not putting in a 13th forward and/or 7th D man on the active roster.

            And I didn’t say that Staal was blocking Day but Staal would be taking a roster spot from someone who deserves it more.

    • Totally agree. If he can play a covered role as a 3rd pairing, then fine. If not, let him sit in the pressbox and try to force his hand.. We need all the cap space we can get because, I believe, this is a transitional year. Next year Gorton will have extra money to go after the center he may need to actually win the cup

      • “If he can play a covered role as a 3rd pairing, then fine”

        Can you honestly guarantee that given what you have seen the past couple of years?

  • With rumors swirling around Holden being shopped, I don’t think they buyout Staal.

    I can’t see management forcing themselves into a position where both their current third pair left-handers are shipped out without knowing what they have in Bereglazov and Pionk.

    DeAngelo is not a presumptive 7th or 8th defenseman. He was brought in to play. But pairing him with Bereglazov or Pionk is going to depend on how they do in camp, and I’m not convinced JG is ready to shed both his veteran left-handers and go into the season blind.

    Personally, I’d take the chance, but it’s not really a safe move and I don’t see it happening.

    • Chris,

      I agree that the buyout of Staal is less likely this season because of the unsurety of what they have in all the kids. Holding on to Staal this season as the 7th dman makes sense to me.

      One of the reasons I believe this is if Mac/Shatty/Smith/Skjei (assuming holden traded) goes down then we will either have 3 rookie defenseman in the lineup or 2 plus kampfer. While its not ideal to have 5.7 million in the press box, it does give them the saftey of seeing what the kids can do at the NHL level. It also saves one year of 1.45 cap hit.

  • Justifying a player’s spot on the roster simply because of his contract is dumb and a loser’s mentality. It keeps teams from winning championships. IMO.

    There, I said it.

      • It’s not panic, the Rangers have a legit shot at being contenders and saying “well he’ll only get 3rd pair minutes” is not guaranteed given the history of the coach who has a history of not knowing what the fuck he’s doing sometimes.

        The coach himself lost the Ottawa series. Because of his stubbornness to playing his faves instead of his best players in crucial situations.

        You’ve heard it over and over, “AV trusts Staal” and my question is WTF is he watching and why? That in itself is why Staal needs to off the team, so AV can’t play him, period.

  • IF they deal Holden, and that is a big IF at the moment, I expect they will probably use Staal on the third pair, with most likely DeAngelo unless the kid sucks at camp. I’d rather that Staal sit, but I don’t think that will happen. I don’t see them buying him out yet. Maybe next year, but that is a lot of Dead cap.

  • For everyone against a Staal buyout, just consider this, even if he plays 3rd pair (which is where he should be, if playing at all), it’s approx $4M in dead cap space, meaning the difference between his salary and what you would pay a 3rd pair D man. It’s actually more like $4.5M but let’s assume it’s $4M. The buyout cap hit is less than that for every year of the buyout.

    And then there’s the scenario where he doesn’t play at all and sits in the press box. That’s $5.7M in dead cap space. So I don’t see where the debate is.

    • That’s rather obvious.

      You’re tying your own hands in the future for current cap room you have no need for. Staal in the press box is a moveable asset once he wants out. Buyout turns a de facto dead hit into a de jure one with no other options. Then, in 2018, you have $25mm to take care of Vesey, Miller, Skjei & Hayes, plus have the ability to bring in a Tavares. My way? You’ll have at least $30mm available and not a ramping up of dead cap beyond Girardi. in 2019 you have almost $7mm less to re-sign McDonagh or Zuccarello

      I have an October 1 lineup that includes Bozak, Fast & Staal, 13F & 6 D with $575k in cap room. I put Fast on LTIR and I can go 13F & 8D with Berezgalov & Pionk and still have $500k in cap relief.

      • Bozak isn’t happening, JG already said that Hayes is a top 6 forward. No way DD gets a 4c role, he’ll be the 3c and at best the next trade for a NHL player would be a 4c even though my gut tells me that Andersson is suppose to get that spot.

      • I had answered you above but the post is awaiting approval, lol.

        I did a whole work up and I don’t know how you got 13F and 7D on the roster and under the cap with Bozak coming aboard.

        So when Fast comes off LTIR what happens then?

        • Fast coming back is a different kettle of fish.

          Obviously a spare F comes off and the D setup goes to 7. Even w/ Staal sticking around it’s an easy number to make.

          Staal has a week to prove his worth, otherwise you park him in the press box and get him to ask out before the end of camp. This has been covered above.

          How to get below the cap on Oct. 1? I’ve spelt it out on multiple occasions and if you can’t suss it? Not my problem.

          Here’s a hint: October 1(which according to Daly isn’t really valid anymore for LTIR) and game 1 have two different values. You need a 20 man(12-6-2) minimum roster, no requirement to be at anything other than be at 20 or no more than 23. Cap Friendly has not adjusted their formulas for this.

          But again, they didn’t buy him out, so this is like pissing up a rope. I’ve already covered the options beyond a buyout, so focus on the next step.

          • I think you need to run the #s again my friend. Staal needed to come off the books in order for a guy like Bozak to come here, and that’s even if Holden were included in the trade for Bozak.

            You need 13Fs and 7Ds on the roster, including Fast because he will be there eventually. Trust me, it doesn’t work without getting rid of Staal. But trading Staal and retaining 50% of his cap hit will get it done too.

          • You keep writing that you have to buy him out, but you don’t have to.

            This really isn’t operative as Bill Daly has stated that teams can use LTIR in the iffseason, as this is how Toronto avoided summer cap issues.

            On October 1st, you have to be cap compliant. This means Fast is on the books, so if you deal Holden for Bozak, you have only 18 skaters(and Desharnais in the minors) to be compliant. Boo, D’Angelo & Berezgalov are waiver exempt and can be sent down on paper.

            No games are played on October 1st, so it’s irrelevant that Fast can’t go and irrelevant how the roster is built. You then add players up to the cap(which might mean a call up for some scrub on league minimum or Ryan Graves, while even Buchnevich is “in” the minors), then put Fast on LTIR before game 1.

            This gives you cap relief somewhere between $1.2-1.3mm in cap relief, which allows you to present a 23 man roster(if needed.)

          • You have negative cap space, lol.

            AND, you have to include Fast because eventually he’s coming back and will be part of the cap and roster. You just can’t ignore his cap hit.

          • That’s with Fast off of LTIR. The cap credit thing was an error on my part(and, apparently Cap Friendly. You’re allowed to go over the upper limit by X, but can’t bank those extra credits. In Cap Friebdly, you can.)

            Sheet w/ Fast on LTIR is now in. Fast will be out a month, but like Lindberg he won’t be 100% fit even then. If Staal hasn’t waived his NMC after 2 months eating popcorn, you either have to keep Fast on LTIR or send down Breglazov, Nieves and another D.

            A great example of why Fast was an overpay.

          • On top of all that, if Fast stays on LTIR for 50 days, they’ll bank enough cap credits to keep Bereglazov on the roster.

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