It’s Sunday and we are 12 days away from the draft. So let’s jump into some musings, shall we?
1. I am a big fan of the strategy of taking on a short term contract with a big cap hit, like a Ryan Callahan or Corey Perry, in order to acquire more long term assets. For example, taking Callahan’s contract and Tampa’s 1st in exchange for their 2nd round pick. The idea isn’t that Callahan plays or has a big role, it’s to get that extra asset for cap space, which for the Rangers isn’t a big deal. You can always buy out the player too.
2. That said, I can’t imaging the Rangers are going to go that route as they look to accelerate the rebuild. They will want to use their cap space on free agents like Artemi Panarin, or perhaps they go for long term contracts on players like Pavel Buchnevich that are expensive now, but may become very cheap in the future. If I had my choice of long term contracts to avoid bridge deals or taking on a contract, I go with the former.
3. Speaking of long term contracts, obviously Buchnevich is my top candidate here. But I would not opposed to giving one to Tony DeAngelo. Maybe not a five year deal, which is what I’d want for Buchnevich, but a three year deal might be advantageous. It’s a bit risky because you’re taking the risk that he keeps his head on straight, which is why three years makes sense. But he is so skilled that if he ever fixes his defensive zone game, a three year deal could walk him into a huge deal at 26, right before he’s a UFA.
4. There is a lot of chatter about offer sheets this year. There is always chatter about offer sheets every year, though. Teams in cap trouble always are targeted and always find a way to get their young players under contract. I doubt we will see an offer sheet this year, but the Rangers would be locked into a deal that pays out four 1st round picks as compensation. The Adam Fox deal locked up the Blueshirts’ 2nd and 3rd round picks next season with the conditions, so unless they get those picks back in a separate trade, an offer sheet is either going to be insanely expensive or not happening.
5. There’s also a lot of chatter about the Rangers moving around in the draft, specifically from the #20 spot. I would be shocked if the Rangers draft at that spot. I personally think they will move the pick in a trade for a young defenseman who can help now and in the future. I know Jacob Trouba has been my target for quite some time, but I’m sure there are players available that we don’t know about. My dream would be Hampus Lindholm from Anaheim.
6. With Jeff Skinner getting $9 million a year, Panarin is going to get $11 million a year on a seven year contract. At that contract, it’s either the Rangers or the Panthers. If it’s the Rangers, I don’t think they have the cap space to do any of the dead weight deals mentioned in point #1.