Irresponsible Rumormongering

Mum’s the word on Jesper Fast…for now

Trade rumors haven't swirled around Fast, but he is still likely to be traded

The NHL’s trade deadline is four days away. We’ve seen a lot of action this week already, and the Rangers have made two “minor” moves. They acquired Julien Gauthier, a young RW, from Carolina in exchange for Joey Keane. They also acquired J.F. Berube from Philly last night for future considerations. Chris Kreider has all the attention, but their other key UFA, Jesper Fast, could also be traded by the deadline.

What We Know

Almost nothing. That’s not even an exaggeration. We know he’s a pending UFA. We know he’s a versatile player that can play an integral role in a team’s bottom-six, but can fake a middle-six role if needed. We know he is on a cheap contract at $1.85 million, making him easier to trade than others. We also know he’s likely to get closer to $3 million in a UFA deal.

We also know that his best scoring line is from two seasons ago when he put up 13-20-33, career highs in all three scoring categories. He’s not a scorer. He fits into the lineup by being that jack-of-all-trades winger who plays a smart and controlled game. He’s also a great skater and a leader in the Rangers’ locker room. He is a player whose value isn’t on the traditional score sheet, but does show up in advanced metrics.

What We Assume

We assume almost any playoff team could find great value for him. The original assumed cost was a mid-round pick. There are no recent trades that help us assign a more accurate value to Fast, so sticking with a second or third round pick as the cost is probably the best bet.

This assumes, of course, that teams are willing to pay that much for a 20-30 point winger whose value isn’t tied to goals and assists. We assume at this point that teams use some level of advanced stats, which is the only avenue on paper that shows Fast’s true worth.

Decisions Needed

I do not envy Jeff Gorton or John Davidson at the moment. All signs point to Fast being traded, even though his apparent value to the team today is probably worth more than just a 2nd round pick. For the Rangers, it’s about Fast’s next contract demands and how that will look as Fast, who will be 29 next season, ages.

Is Fast worth $3 million a year? Can the Rangers responsibly commit to a 29 year old winger for 4 years? Will Fast ask for 5 years? What is the cutoff for the Rangers to be able to re-sign him. Is that cost worth passing up on whatever trade offer they receive?

Fast is one of those odd players who may have more value to his team, even in a rebuild, than he does on the trade market. There’s no clear cut answer to “trade him” or “keep him.”

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  • Trade Jesper Fast, he will likely cost more than NYR can afford for him. He’s a solid player and I wish him the best. But a 2nd rounder is fair value for sure.

  • Kredier to COL for a nice return, than re-signed prior to the 4th of July. Smith a goner…..Fast in question, GT situation in question- Hank quietly being pushed out.. I have said this many times- Rangers are looking build their bottom 6 and started this process with the move this week with CAR, in addition- this organization is building for the future and not for the short term. Think along the lines of more bigger physical players coming in to compliment the top two lines……Future looks really bright, Albeit, most fans will be upset with the moves coming….

  • Personally I would keep Jesper Fast unless someone is offering me a real good deal. He isn’t flashy but just goes about playing the “right way” every single shift of every single game. He’s a great example and a model of consistency. He’s our best PK guy (with Zibby). $3M per? Yes … 3 years? Yes … 4 years and I have to think about it a bit … but would probably do it.

    People think he’s easily replaceable, but I don’t believe that … he’s the type of player we use to constantly TRY to find to play top quality bottom 6 minutes. The issue isn’t Fast, it’s on the coaches for playing him up in the lineup too much. Like last night I was sure DQ would at a certain point take Fast off of the 2nd line and insert Gauthier for a few bites at the apple — but of course not. 😉

    • Why would a cap strapped want to fork out 3-4 million a season for a 4th liner. Fast is easily replaceable. He is not considered anymore then a spare part outside of the Ranger bubble.

      • Who said anything about $4M? I clearly stated $3M @ 3 years … and he isn’t a 4th liner, more like a 3rd liner given his exceptional defensive abilities. You’re just arguing here because of some inherent bias against Fast or his utilization by the coach, a type of player that ISN’T easy to replace — unless you don’t watch the games or just can’t comprehend what you’re looking at.

        • I watch a lot of Ranger games and many hockey’s games played by the other teams in the league. When I watch Jesper play the word exceptional is the last word that comes to my mind. Plumber, is a better description. The fact that Fast has hands of stone doesn’t make him an defensive player by default.
          There is a reason why he was never picked up at the expansion draft, he just doesn’t stand out in any area of the game.

          • Sorry Bloomer, that’s just crazy talking. lol He’s an exceptional licensed plumber with reasonable rates — and trust me, they’re hard enough to find.

          • Over the last two years, Fast and Buchnevich have nearly identical even strength ice time. [Fast has actually played one more game and gets 3 seconds more ice time per game.] Over that span, Buch has 56 ES points and Fast 42. So Buch is the more prolific scorer, but it is not night and day.

            If you look at ES goals scored when they were on the ice, the margin shrinks to 87-78. (and the defensive margin is 92-70 the other way) Even though Fast has gotten to play with Panarin this year, on balance I suspect Buch has had more scoring opportunities over two years.

            Typically, players deprived of PP points just don’t score that much. Fast is not a prolific scorer but he is not that bad either. And I suspect the Vegas GM would be the first to admit not grabbing Fast was an error in judgment.

  • You are spot on Dave about Fast being more valuable to the team than he is on the trade market. Solid player and good soldier who doesn’t score much, and who leads by example. But, he is about to become too expensive in view of the other players the Rangers need to sign.

  • Trading Fast strikes me as a repeat of the Hagelin debacle. It took them a while to find a replacement for Hagelin…….FAST!!! Yes he doesn’t score much, not flashy, but every team needs his type of player. The trick is in getting him signed at a reasonable price. That was the problem with Hagelin; they decided to pay the pylons on defense rather than to give the money to somebody who was an integral part of the team. Hagelin got his contract elsewhere,…. overpaid… and the Rangers lost their best forechecker and penalty killer. Can Fast be replaced?… probably, but why now? With a young team, they need the experience and defensive responsibility he provides. 29 is NOT old! The decision they have to make is how much money and for how long do they want to pay him for his specific value to this rebuild going forward. I hope they find a way. Watching how this team can be a shit-show in their own end every night, I’d hate to see what it would be like without a player like Fast bailing out his defense.

  • It is only a little misleading to note that the Rangers are 6-1 in games started by Shesterkin. Can the Rangers win the Cup in 2020? Actually yes. The team is decent enough and a great goalie can do wonders.

    The odds are against it of course, but it is silly to just dump players. If you are not going to resign Fast and someone offers you a first rounder, you grab it, but you don’t simply trade useful players for the best possible offer. It should be a good offer.

    Of course, I still want to keep the team mostly intact, trading only Skjei to create cap space. Next year I see Panarin, Zibanejad, Kreider, Buchnevich, Fast,Strome, Lemieux, Kakko, Chityl, Kravtsov, and Gauthier as a really good group of forwards.

    With Shesterkin, Trouba, Fox, DeAngelo, Lindgren, Rykov, why do we want to tear things up to get extra prospects?

    • Ray, I agree with you 100%. Now is the time to start adding players who can contribute next year, not draft picks or prospects who need another year or two in the minors. Now, if the chips were to fall in our favor, and we could get the #1 pick this year, I’d take LaFreniere in a heartbeat, but that’s not very likely.

    • I’m in your camp on this. I won’t suggest someone shouldn’t be traded … but I would let some combination of Staal, Smith, McKegg (he’s “ok”), Haley and Hank go. These guys aren’t contributing to what I consider a somewhat surprising season (at least in the last 6 weeks or so). I would consider moving Skjei, but getting rid of Staal and Smith is more important!!! In another year though I can easily see Skjei being moved out to make room (btw, I don’t hate Skjei at all and he’s played better of late, he just doesn’t quite earn his cap space — then again Trouba has been a little shy of his mark as well).

      I hope Hank is traded to Colorado for a 1st and we resign Kreider.

  • I like Jesper a lot and he does a lot of little things, but the Rangers need upgrades on their forward lines.

    So unless Fast is willing ti take a $2M-$2.5M per contract to play the 4th line, then he’s expendable, IMO.

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