How far will the Rangers get this season?

Brad Richards Might Be Too Pricey For NY, But He's Still Better Than Plan B
+ more on Jagr, Dubinsky contract negotiations, Erixon and Fasth

The NY Post’s Larry Brooks reports that Brad Richards is seeking a minimum of $7 million a year, far in excess of the Rangers’ likely top offer of five-years, $32.5 million.

Brooks says that Richards isn’t interested in taking less money to reunite with John Tortorella and hints that money will be the deciding factor for Richards come July 1.

If true, GM Glen Sather and company should be commended for deciding upon a maximum offer and not overtaxing the franchise to acquire an aging star as the team has done so many times in the past.

However, the team’s affinity for Richards is well known and if it becomes clear in the coming weeks that New York will have to sweeten its offer to get Richards, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Rangers up the ante.

Brooks speculates that fallback options for Richards include Jason Spezza, Stephen Weiss and Patrick Sharp.  All three would be attractive options, but remember that to get any of them the Blueshirts would have to part with several top prospects and draft picks.

In the past, Sather has been crucified for overspending on free agents, but now that might actually be the wisest course of action.  The need for a No. 1 center is glaring, but is it worth saving a few million dollars and giving up the picks and prospects that have gotten New York to this point in the first place?

Sather would be wise to check in on those three backup plans and many others to see what the asking price is.  But if Ottawa or Florida or Chicago wants Michael Del Zotto or Chris Kreider or a first-round pick plus more for one of those guys, it might make more sense to offer Richards another $1.5 million a year instead.

- Brooks also reports that Brandon Dubinsky is seeking $4.5 million a year for his next contract.  This is disheartening news because Dubinsky’s last contract negotiations with the Blueshirts were so messy.  Dubinsky is a terrific player, but he’s not worth close to that kind of money.  $4 million would be pushing it.  It’ll be a long summer watching this play out, but in the end expect Dubinsky’s new deal to fall far short of his asking price if he wants to stay in New York.

- Jaromir Jagr is reportedly close to reaching a decision on his future.  Recent reports have indicated that Jagr is close to inking a new deal to stay in the KHL, but Spector's Hockey says he hasn’t ruled out an NHL return and that Montreal and New York are keeping an eye on the situation.  You’ll hear different things on Jagr from almost everyone you ask, but this is certainly an intriguing situation.  The smart money is still on Jagr returning to the KHL, but if he suddenly decides he wants to return to North America things might get very interesting. 

- Click here to read Gordie Clark’s comments on acquiring Tim Erixon.  Clark is clearly ecstatic about the move. 

- The Rangers are also quite pleased with the development of 2010 sixth-round pick Jesper Fasth.  He’s not close to coming to North America just yet, but the team clearly thinks that he could turn into a steal.  

- Devils beat reporter Tom Gulitti thinks there’s a decent chance the Rangers will look to trade down from No. 15 in the first round.  The Blueshirts will likely try to pick up a couple draft picks between now and June 24th, but if they’re unable to do so satisfactorily, trading down at the draft could be an option.  In all likelihood, New York will have its eyes set on a couple forwards at No. 15 and if it looks like they’ll still be on the board later and the Blueshirts can pick up an extra second-round pick, they’d be very interested in doing so.  Trading down at the draft is always a smart option assuming you can still get your man, but with the Rangers lacking so many picks, they’re a logical candidate to give strong consideration to moving down this year. 



Posted by Kevin Baumer | June 5, 2011 at 02:51 pm

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