So what exactly should we be thinking after the first 2 days
of free agency for the New York Rangers? Is the franchise overall better off
with the moves made by Glen Sather or did he hurt the team?
Got to start with the re-signing of Dom Moore to a year deal
at 1.5 million per year as Moore is worth his deal just for what he brings to
the team off the ice in the locker room. But on the ice you have a solid
penalty killer who leads the 4th line but can fill in elsewhere when
The Rangers added defenseman Dan Boyle on a two year deal
and I am sorry I have some issues with this deal. The biggest is the salary of
4.5 million a year for a 38 year old player who as much as people want to love
his power play numbers was a liability on defense at even strength. It is very
hard to picture Boyle as a Top 4 defender in Alain Vigneault’s “man to man”
Even harder to figure is who does pair with Boyle if he doesn't make the Top 4? If you
thought pairing him as a Top 4 defender was hard then if he is 3rd pair is frightening. If that is the case then where does that leave John Moore?
And if the Rangers were willing to pay 4.5 million a year to
Dan Boyle for 2 years then I would have rather they re-signed Anton Stralman to
the 5 year deal he got from Tampa Bay. Stralman’s performance in the playoffs
showed that at 27 he still had an upside. With Marc Staal a year away from unrestricted free agency, I would
have kept Stralman and looked to trade Staal just like the Rangers did with
It turned out Brian Boyle took a minor raise from Tampa Bay
to just 2 million a season but if they promised him a chance to be more than a
4th liner then there can’t be any complaints about the Rangers not
signing him. In his place the Rangers signed Tanner Glass from the Pittsburgh
Penguins but a player that Alain Vigneault knows quite well having coached him
Glass will give the Rangers a player who will drop his
gloves when needed (7 fighting majors) but for the most part as a defensive
player stays out of the box. His presence means the Rangers really don’t need
Dan Carcillo and can use the spot to develop a younger player like a Oscar
The other unrestricted free agents that the Rangers have
signed so far are for the most part destined for the Hartford Wolfpack if you
go by their career numbers. Defensemen Matt Hunwick, Steven Kampfer and Mike
Kostka have spent more time in the AHL than they have the NHL. If I wanted to
bet then I would say Kostka becomes next season’s Justin Falk as the designated
Again no complaints as unless they are getting regular NHL
ice time then it is better to keep Conor Allen and Dylan McIlrath in the AHL so
they keep playing rather than living in the press box. Signing Chris Bourque
may give his family a chance to see him and his kid brother Ryan playing on the
same Wolfpack team but Bourque hasn’t been able to stick with the Capitals,
Bruins or Penguins so regular time as a Ranger is a long shot.
Cedrick Desjardins is a career AHL goalie who has more
recent NHL experience than David Leneveu. It also gives the Rangers the option
to send Mackenzie Skapski back to the WHL for an overage year if needed.
The best part of what the Rangers have done is to have 14.6
million in open cap space to resign Chris Kreider, Mats Zuccarello, Derek
Brassard, and John Moore and have something left to spare. Zuccarello has
reportedly said length not salary is key to him so let’s see if he means it by
giving him a 4 year deal with a cap hit of 2.5 million.
Chris Kreider is a year away from salary arbitration so he
might be harder to get a cap friendly contract if he decides he wants a 1-2
year deal. Sather may have made a mistake saying players had one year of
success as Kreider can point to what he did in the 2012 NHL playoffs which
counts as a year towards arbitration.
Give Kreider a 2 year deal for 2.5 to 3 million and tell him
to give you the kind of year that warrants 4-5 million a season.
Derek Brassard came into this season with a 3.7 million
salary and while he set a new career high in goals with 18, it really is hard
to turn that into a 5 million salary for a guy who has only averaged 13 goals a
season during his 6 full NHL seasons. He is eligible for arbitration so the
Rangers have to be a little more careful as they can’t afford for Brassard to
go for arbitration and come away with a big win.
Give him 4.5 million for this season with a promise to talk
about an extension after the first of the year. As for John Moore, he really
has no leverage at all and seriously he has not shown to be more than a 3rd pair defender. He at best should be happy with something near 1.5 million for a
year or two to take him to NHL salary arbitration but by then the Rangers will
have more talented prospects to replace him.
That will leave the Rangers close to 3 million in open cap
space so if they see a player who can help then they are not handicapped by not
having any free cap space.
But overall if you are not happy with the overall job done
by the Rangers then seriously the odds are good that nothing they do will make
you happy. Sather and Co. have managed the cap and have not given anyone a Richards
or Drury type contract. That is a win for the franchise and for the fans.
One last thing is that none of the moves made by the Rangers
are road blockers for any of the prospects. If a young player comes along and
shows that he is deserving of a roster spot then money won’t be an obstacle as
it has been in the past.
That alone is a huge win.