A “blockbuster” for the Rangers last night, as they sent Marc Staal to the Detroit Red Wings in a shocking trade. The Rangers sent Staal with no salary retained to Detroit, with a 2021 2nd round pick, for future considerations. The trade came through on Saturday night, a little before Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. It was obviously a shocker for the entire fan base. As per usual, I have some thoughts.
1. The trade is a salary dump. That’s it, and there is nothing more to really analyze there. The Rangers cleared the full $5.7 million cap hit. This was something completely unexpected, as all offseason plans had assumed Staal’s full cap hit would be a part of the team. This opens many options, as the Rangers now have over $20 million in cap space to work with this season.
2. If the Rangers still go through with the Henrik Lundqvist buyout, they will have a little over $23 million in cap space. It’s assumed that at this point, the Rangers will throw a lot of money at some of their RFAs. While still unlikely they re-sign all of them, it looks like at least one will be getting the bag.
3. This could also ensure the Rangers retain Jesper Fast, who might have been a cap casualty without clearing more space. Both Fast and the Rangers want this to work out, and this likely guarantees that he stays with the team.
4. Another thing the Staal trade does is opens up a roster spot on the left side of the blue line. As of now, it’s Ryan Lindgren and Brendan Smith. There will be a competition for K’Andre Miller and Tarmo Reunanen. This assumes the Rangers keep Smith. He still has value in a flat cap era.
5. This is the big thing here – the Rangers have a once in a lifetime chance to capitalize on the flat cap. They are one of only a few teams that can still spend money when no revenue is coming in. They’d prefer to keep salaries down, of course, but they have the ability to pay everyone. That’s important, and it puts them in a situation to take advantage of the internal budget teams. It’s why Staal was able to be traded.
6. I don’t think they go for UFAs, specifically Torey Krug. I think this opens up options for trades. I’m adamant about Vince Dunn, but the Rangers always have something up their sleeves that surprises us. But the one thing we do know is that this is a precursor to something else in their plans. As to what – we don’t know yet.
7. A thing about Staal’s no-move clause, his no-move clause was for demotions to the AHL only. He had a limited NTC, and apparently Detroit wasn’t on the list. Thus, his NTC didn’t matter for the trade.
8. On the list of things we expected the Rangers to do this summer, a trade of Marc Staal was at the bottom of the list. It was always a possibility, but to actually pull it off is shocking.