Offseason

Should the NY Rangers use an offer sheet this offseason?

An offer sheet is a rare occurrence in the NHL, but surprisingly not all that rare for the NY Rangers. The Rangers have signed a player via an offer sheet a whopping four times in their history.

  • Geoff Courtnall in 1988 – Washington matched.
  • Adam Graves in 1991 – Troy Mallette was sent to Edmonton as compensation.
  • Stu Grimson in 1996 – Detroit matched.
  • Joe Sakic in 1997 – Colorado matched.

The Rangers also effectively killed the offer sheet as a viable offseason tool with that Sakic fiasco. Prior to signing Sakic, there were 27 offer sheets in 11 years. After that, just 10 in 23 years. This season presents a rare opportunity, as an unexpected flat salary cap has put an extra squeeze on teams. Smart General Managers can take advantage.

Offer sheet compensation has a sweet spot this year around $4.2 million-$6.35 million. That compensation, per CapFriendly, is a 2021 1st and 3rd round pick. One other sweet spot is $6.36 million-$8.4 million, where the compensation is a 2021 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round pick.

The cap hit for compensation is the full contract amount divided by five years, which is important to remember. A five year, $40 million contract ($8 million a year) counts the same as an eight year, $40 million ($5 million cap hit, but $40 million divided by five years is still $8 million). Let’s keep this in mind as we move forward.

A team can, in theory, really hamstring someone by signing a young, promising player to a $6.3 million contract. There are a few prime targets that hit that sweet spot of young, supremely talented, and subject to an offer sheet. There’s risk in this, but for these players, it might be worth the risk.

Mikhail Sergachev – LD, Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay is a big target of mine. They have no cap space, are in a window to win, and have minimal options available to them. With just $5 million and both Sergachev and Anthony Cirelli as key RFAs, they have tough decisions to make.

Sergachev is a 22 year old LD with top-four potential. Sergachev is a 30-40 point defenseman through three years in the NHL, and should continue with that pace for the foreseeable future. He’s also a solid two-way guy that can really bolster the left side of the blue line.

For the Rangers, they really only have Ryan Lindgren on the left side. K’Andre Miller has shown a ton of promise, but he shouldn’t be rushed. Sergachev gives them that top-four defenseman, for next season and beyond.

Would five years at $6.3 million get it done? That’s $1 million over the Evolving-Wild projection of five years at $5.4 million a year. Going more than five years does get tricky with compensation, as mentioned above. If the Rangers want to go the max seven years while staying in that $6.3 million sweet spot range, then it’s a $4.5 million cap hit over those 7 years.

The Rangers do have a solid amount of defense prospects, so Sergachev may be seen as a luxury. Plus Tampa is pretty thin on defense, so they might match without an egregious overpayment.

Anthony Cirelli – C, Tampa Bay

Sensing a theme yet? Cirelli is another potential target for a NY Rangers offer sheet who fills a huge hole. The Rangers have Mika Zibanejad and Filip Chytil down the middle, with question marks around Ryan Strome and Brett Howden. The Rangers are extremely thin up the middle, which makes Cirelli a prime target.

Cirelli had himself a breakout year this season, putting up 16-28-44 in 68 games. The 23 year old center is due a pretty big raise. Evolving Wild has him projected at six years and $5.8 million. Cirelli again probably falls into that five year, $6.3 million mentioned for Sergachev.

Cirelli is a little riskier than Sergachev, in the sense that he didn’t move the needle that much offensively. He put up solid numbers and certainly has a ton of skill, so there’s certainly cause for optimism. He’s also solid defensively, which makes him far less of a liability with more upside than some of the other options out there.

Mat Barzal or Ryan Pulock – Islanders

Barzal’s name has been floated around Twitter, and it’s a great pipe dream. The Isles are in cap hell, and unless they dump Johnny Boychuk on Ottawa –he’s in a Brendan Smith scenario– then they may not be able to afford either he or Pulock.

Barzal is projected for $9 million a year as a true 1C. The Rangers can’t afford that, and the Islanders won’t let him go unless it’s for over the $10.5 million annually threshold for four 1st round picks. And even then they might not.

Pulock’s name hasn’t been floated that much, but he’s projected to get $6.8 million on his next deal. That’s again a lot for a guy who would be a luxury on RD with Jacob Trouba and Adam Fox. If the Rangers are going to try to land Pulock, they may as well just re-sign Tony DeAngelo.

The idea of poaching from the Islanders should make everyone giddy, but I don’t think this year is a good fit. Either way, the NY Rangers using an offer sheet this summer to upgrade the roster is certainly an option.

Charts from Hockeyviz.com.

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  • There’s a reason why teams do not go this route, of offer sheets, it goes against the GM unwritten code. And rightfully so.

    The TB issue is a real one, and one of the players that David mentioned is probably gone, but a team will have to trade with them. And we all know how well the Rangers have done in past trades with them, lol.

    I think that the Rangers add Lafren, and they go with basically the same team as this year, with some adjustments. To not go the dead cap space route, for one more year, as I said in the previous thread.

    • Would you agree that the Rangers need to sign 1-2 veteran forwards who are willing to go to the front of the net and open up space for Laffy, Kakko and the skill guys? Outside of Kreids and Lemieux (occasionally), that’s in short supply on this current roster. Hopefully, Barron gets an opportunity to replace McKegg next year.

        • Yo Rocky it’s not just net front presence. Unless if it’s Zib or Panarin in any of the high to low slots… Pucks aren’t going to get deflected (sorry but Kreider isn’t even a poor man’s JVR or Pavelski at this). Panarin is to skilled to station down there. You usually don’t want your center’s chilling there (Zib).. Those two are the only one’s with enough hand eye skills to pull it off on a nightly basis. I hope Krav and Kakko will help in that skill zone. You know Laffy will be good at it so.. It’s a shame because ADA and Fox are pretty amazing with the I.Q towards the point.

          • we need net presence..no question about it….too many shots are seen by the opposing goalie that make them look like Godzilla…..

      • I honestly do not believe that the Rangers will get a top 6 player. IMO, I think the Rangers already believe that they have that.

        From the previous thread, I posted:

        KZB
        Panarin-Chytil-Kakko
        Lafren-Howden (ugh)-Krav/Gaut (I forgot about Gaut)
        Lemiuex-McKegg (or a comparable)-Fast

        No room for a top 6 unless Buch is in the deal with Strome, which is not impossible. The Rangers want to prioritize the bottom 6, IMO, to have depth.

        • Buch is finally playing 2-way hockey, has added grit to his game and is a strong possession player. He should be a keeper, no? ADA has finally proven himself to be a top 4 D-man and possible star. Yet, avid-Ranger fans, including my crazy cousin want to trade ADA? ADA is Karlsson-lite at 1/2 the cost!

          • Don’t misunderstand pal, I want Buch here. But he’s got one more RFA year and then needs a new contract, which I am not sure that the Rangers want to pay.

            If they trade Buch, put Gaut on that line, with Kreider and Zib, to bury the biscuit.

          • Ahhh, great choice (i.e. a shooter) on the wing….I wish you were writing up the daily lineup cards instead of DQ! In Kakko, Lafren, and Gauthier, Rangers finally have players with a shoot first mentality. Too bad we couldn’t bring back Zucc to feed them!

          • Sigh, I don’t know what goes through coaches’ heads, but sometimes, don’t over think it.

            Gaut puts up 25 goals on that line, IMO. 26 goals in 44 games in the AHL is a proven commodity. You can see his skill.

        • Dude Laffy ain’t playing on the 3rd on any fantasy roster. No way…. I don’t see how you wouldn’t be able put this together. In their rookie season’s, you thought that Lias and Chytil were in competition for middle six roles… Now you think a legit top prospect with plenty of proof of elite skills will play on the 3rd line??? Come on… All to maintain a none existent elite line (KBZ)? Laffy and Zib will be a legit duo for years to come. I know you like Kreider but by just going with the hype, he is already being replaced.

          Kreider and Buch are hardly 25+ goals and 55+ point players next to Zib. JD/JG/Quinn will want to correct that.

      • MRichter35

        Rest assured that Morgan Barron will be in the starting line up when the season starts!!!!!!!!!!! I’ ll be on it……………..

        • That’s a tough jump, directly to the big club Walt.

          But the issue is no one knows the timing of when any league will start play (NHL or AHL).

          And that’s why it was very good news that Lafren said that he would report to the camp of whichever NHL team drafted him. So he committed to be here, for the start of the NHL season. Whenever that will be.

          • Tony

            From what we have all heard, read, and the vast improvement that he made in the three years at Cornell, I will still bet he’s a part of the roster next season.

            He is a big kid, some 6’3″, and some 215 lbs, with soft hands, great hockey, and over all IQ, he is the real deal. He can play both LW, and center, and plays with an edge. JG stated that he wants to field a team that is harder to play against, doesn’t he sound like the person to fit the bill? With the addition of him, and Alexis Lafreniere, we are two steps closer to that desired team!!!!!!!!!!

      • Agreed! We need a 4th line center with grit who could win face offs. 1 other player to jam the crease. A good LD. But an offer sheet, were in hell now,we do it we will be in hell for 5 more years. A 2nd line center will be hard,since most are already making 5-6 mil a year anyway. This just me I would like us to try to get someone like Sam Bennett,Adam Lowery, good character guys who don’t wilt in the playoffs. I’m sure are others we can target..

        • Bennett has been a target for a long time…but kudos to the Flames for not giving up on him…he shows up in the playoffs…Lowery is a big boy and went toe to toe with Reeves this year.

        • Look at how important guys like Boone Jenner and Atkinson are to the Blue Jacket run! I was hoping Lemieux would develop into one of these guys……here’s hoping!

      • Yes, good guy to try for! But at what expense? The scenarios, but are they worth it?
        Possibly our no.1 and 2 next year + Chytil,or Fox,or Kakko. Something along those lines. To me not worth the headache.
        Stay the course,be patient. And it will work itself out.

    • Can’t see Staal retiring or going anywhere else….Probably another year of Staal… hopefully Staal see lots of action from the skybox.

      • It’s unfortunate Staal has a NMC. However if he still wants to play and you tell him your the extra D (7th,8th) maybe he might be willing to waive it. Maybe we can trade him and maybe retain money to move it along. Crystal ball (Carolina,Minny) to play with is brothers? Just a thought.

    • I agree Tony. I believe that Hank likely will retire and that Strome will likely be dealt. Aside from adding their new left winger Alexis, and maybe Morgan Barron if he makes the club, and perhaps dealing Fast (who is more likely to be resigned), there might not be many more changes. I think that they will also work out a deal with Tony D.

      JD has preached patience and I believe that he means it.

      • Strome is well liked by leadership.. He just might be signed to a 3 or 4 year contract. I am on the fence, unless it’s a discounted contract….Strome looked good at times, and other times would take the dumbest penalties and just looked lazy…….I don’t like the defensive corp at the moment….not enought beef and grit…..too much ice cream..

        • I’d agree that Strome is liked by leadership, but his impending costs will make them like him much less because of the cap. I do not believe that he can be signed to a 3 or 4 year deal because his market value has been inflated due to the Panarin effect. He is an arbitration eligible RFA, which means that he could be awarded a lot more money than the Rangers want to pay him. I’d look for him to either be offered a very short deal or to be dealt because at the moment it is possible he’d garner close to $7 mil.

          • People don’t want to sign Strome because he is not worth what you would need to pay him. However, most teams should be able to figure that out as well and so Strome likely can’t get that much from many teams. Yes, it only takes one outlier willing to pay him a ridiculous salary, but with the covid effect on the cap and team finances, just maybe that outlier won’t exist.

            Plus a player ought to take a discount for the opportunity of playing with Panarin.

          • This year’s arbitration hearings will be interesting. Teams can walk away from the awards, but players will have 4 days to take the club’s initial offer.

            I can definitely see that happening with Strome.

      • Peter, as much as management likes Strome, I feel that he may be traded anyway. Maybe Strome and Lias in a package for something.

        Barron, might be tough coming right to the Rangers, but it will be hard to project because no one knows what league will be playing when.

        I feel like Hank and JD are “negotiating” a retirement deal. Hank’s actual salary is $5M so he got most of his contract money already. The Rangers hire him after his playing days are over. It could work.

        • $550k getting held back from Hank(everybody getting 10% held back) paid out over the next 3 years no matter what, per the CBA MOU.

          A buyout screws Hank, screws the Rangers, so does retirement. Just better to clear the decks this year and have all funds available rather than spreading out the pain.

          Loan him to Frölunda, bring him back for the playoffs(if he wants to.) Them “paying” even $500k helps the cap hit, gets Frölunda a better goalie, gets the Rangers cost certainty. It’s the one place he’d even consider going to. It’s the lest worst option.

          There’s a goalie glut out there in the offseason, Georgiev would have minimal value where trade deadline offers maximum value.

          • I really believe that the Rangers are negotiating a retirement with Hank.

            Hank plays in Sweden for a year and comes back working for the Rangers.

            Then Hank goes out on his own terms and gets to play with Sweden and Joel next season.

  • eyes are big huh? Laffy win got ya day-dreaming with fancy flights of delusion Dave. You sure do like that center. That slightly about average 3rd line center on a deep team with lots of goal scoring. 44 pts and you think he should be the second line center… Strome is the question mark? 6.3 and 3 rounds of picks – or Strome at 4-5 or even 6.3 and no draft picks… how many points did Strome have? more than 44? I don’t even really like Strome all that much… but I know without thinking about it, it’s the way better option.
    Once again – JD words fall on deaf ears… and Dave wants to return to the days of old 2 years into the rebuild. smh. click bait by a just a fan.

  • They just wont do it. Too many moving parts for every team at the moment. Plus we all are stuck in Cap Hell.
    Hank needs to let us know what he is doing first anyway.

  • These numbers are ridiculous especially in light of the cap not increasing, aside from Barzal. Plus after all the talk that they have to resign Mika in a year, we’re talking about dropping $5-6-7M like it was nothing.

    Sign your own to 2-3 year contracts without an NTC if their numbers are too high long term (ADA, maybe Strome) and basically stand pat just adding Lafreniere, possibly a kid like Barron, etc.

    People are overreacting to the play-in loss – the natural progression for some of the young kids on this team will has to be counted on.

    • I agree with you on signing your own and keeping the “core” together as they grow and mature. The roster tweaking has to focus on Staal, Smith, McKegg (need a better face-off man with speed and PK skills), and DiGieppi (need more size with net front presence)!

      • Take out DiG and insert Lafreniere on the 3rd line. I want to see Lafreniere-Chytil-Kakko, that could be a hell of a line given the improvements we saw in Chytil and Kakko in the play-in round.

        I fear Staal isn’t going anywhere next season, they actually LIKE him.

        • I think I must have missed Chytil’s improvement. I must have been in the bathroom….He’s awful, just another talented, but weak player. The Rangers need toughness up the middle, and Chytil aint it.

  • The reason team don’t do it, because of the Revenge, If they wish to get Sergachev or Cirelly, which is not bad Idea at all IMHO, just make it right, Through Miller + Lias/Howden for Sergachev and for example 1st of Canes + Howden or Lias ( I would prefer Howden).

    • Miller? Rangers won’t do that. He’s too good of a physical specimen — plus with the way they talked about him after the play-in camp, it’s clear that Quinn, JD and JG love this kid. Plus he got a big thumbs up from ADA in his podcast.

      • He is good as specimen, but so far didn’t show he is good as a hockey player, saying about his play in Juniors and in the College, he was really not good at all as a player, I bet Zach Jones is a way better player then Miller … At least he is far far far far to be from Sergachev, dude is legit…. and yes just listen what they say about Howden, dude is just rider with no head.

  • The real offer sheet story IMO is Igor Shesterkin next year. As he is not arbitration eligible, that seems like a wise course of action for him if the Rangers think they can treat him as they treated Stepan and DeAngelo.

    Because he is an older rookie, all this RFA and UFA stuff comes a lot faster than we are used to and I would be very surprised if he were not actually worth an eight figure contract. Lundqvist got over $4M in his third season and nearly $7M in his fourth and that was more than ten years ago when the salary cap was less than 2/3 what it is now.

    • Honest question. How did the NYR treat Stepan? I’ve seen a few of his interviews and he said he knew the trade was coming before he even signed the contract. He was also aware that it was 98% Arizona who wanted him.

      I mean yeah they did send him and his pregnant wife at the time into a inferno…. JT Miller hung out with my ex and he said the locker room vibe helped pushed him out. Vets like Mcd and Hank, than young guns like Miller, Hayes, Skjei and Vesey weren’t taking him seriously.

      I can direct you to a game where you will see this… Pretty eye opening when someone points it out.

      • I was not referring to that, but to an earlier time. When Stepan was an RFA with no leverage, the Rangers fave him a take it or leave it contract and he actually held out of camp, eventually returning to the fold because he indeed did have no leverage.

        There was a parallel with the DeAngelo situation last summer.

        My original comment was wrong though. Shesterkin will be arbitration eligible. So he can choose arbitration or offer sheet. I suspect he will get a better deal from the offer sheet.

  • Offer sheets are few and far between and cause animosity around the league. Montreal took a shot with Aho and were matched. Aho is special and I didn’t blame the Habs.

    Cirelli isn’t Aho and I really like Cirelli. Plus any offer sheet would put a possible lottery pick in the hat and I wouldn’t do that. However, I would offer this year’s second first-round pick plus a decent prospect like Robertson or Z. Jones to get it done. Or a lottery protected first rounder next year. Young competent center ice-men don’t grow on trees.

    But OTOH, $5.8 mil per is tough to take. Gorton would have to maneuver some stuff and it won’t be easy.

  • If the Rangers go that route they are opening up a can of worms. With the current roster as is, and all the young players we have, what makes anyone think that it couldn’t be used against us down the road? A team can then force us into signing a payer at a much higher rate, and bind our hands for years, just because we played this silly game. I say leave well enough alone.

    We are in an enviably position today. We get the overall #1 pick, have a second #1, and loads of options. Offer some teams a reasonable return for a targeted player, and keep the entire NHL happy. Should we pursue the offer sheet option, we put a huge target on our back for years to come.

  • How bout some no nonsense defenseman to clear opponents from out front and smash guys into the boards. Overall toughness need to be addressed. Stop signing 5’9 players for the love of god

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