How far will the Rangers get this season?

Not Perfect But Nothing To Be Angry About
Sather and Co. are doing a good job with cap management so far

Glen Sather (New York Rangers)

Glen Sather (New York Rangers)

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 needed.

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” coverage.

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 Ryan Callahan.

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 with Vancouver.

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 Lindberg.

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 7th defender.

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.

Posted by Jess Rubenstein | July 3, 2014 at 05:48 am

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New York Rangers VS Chicago Blackhawks
Wednesday, October 7, 2015

  1 2 3 OT F
Rangers 3 0 0 - 3
Blackhawks 1 1 0 - 2

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