The Rangers can clearly fill out their roster with current Ranger prospects and be under the $69 million cap that includes signing the 3 free agents awaiting arbitration, if long term contracts aren't signed by their arbitration date. The Rangers have to make a decision on what to do with Marc Staal who could enter free agency after the 2014-2015 season. The talk everywhere is that all of the Staal brothers want to play together and is headed to Carolina next summer, so the Rangers have to make a move soon one way or another. There are rumors that Eric Staal is on the market, so do the Rangers make the move to bring him to Broadway? If Eric comes to New York, that still leaves Jordan Staal in Carolina, who went there to be with his brother Eric and signed for a $6 million caphit for like 10 years. So would it have to become a blockbuster deal to bring both of the Staal brothers to New York and then sign Marc to an extension in the neighborhood of Dan Girardi's $5.5 caphit per season? Do the Rangers abandon the Staal moves and move their signed Staal and send him out west in a trade for Joe Thorton who is BFF with Rick Nash and try to get Nash back to his top form? WWSD(What Will Sather Do)?
The Rangers now have Rick Nash, Martin St. Louis, Derek Stepan, Tanner Glass, Dominic Moore, and newly signed to a 1 way contract Chris Mueller under contract and expected to be on the opening night roster. Restricted Free Agents Derick Brasard, Chris Kreider, John Moore, and Mats Zuccarello are expected to sign long term contracts totalling somewhere around $11-12 million a year together. Rookies J.T. Miller and Jesper Fast have the inside track on the open spots up front leaving somewhere around $2.3 left for 1 or maybe 2 more spots depending on whether the Rangers carry an extra up front to start the season. From inside the organization, it would seem that Ryan Haggerty(who signed with the Rangers and stayed with the NHL club for the rest of last year and will work out again this summer with Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards) and Oscar Lindberg have a year under their belt learning the Rangers organization while Anthony Duclair(if not sent back to Jr's), Danny Kristo, and Ryan Bourque ar more of an long shot to stick at the NHL level.
On the Rangers backend, they already have 7 players on 1 way contracts and John Moore already having received his qualifier as a restricted free agent. Future Captain Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, Dan Boyle, Kevin Klien, Mike Kostka, and Matt Hunwick are all on 1 way contracts to the big club and John Moore doesn't have arbitration rights so he really doesn't have any bargaining chips to cash in and should sign for around $1 mil for a year or 2. Ready in the AHL just for a shot at a spot in the top 6 is Dylan McIlrath who brings something that no other Ranger dman brings to the table, a physical prescence and protection for the rest of the Rangers. The Rangers also have Conor Allen who got a cup of coffee with the Rangers last season.
In a previous post, I thought the Rangers needed 3 types of players such as a rugged winger, a powerplay dman, and a center that can replace Brad Richards. The Rangers signed Tanner Glass to fill the role of the rugged winger that can protect his teammates with his hands of steel. The Rangers hit the jackpot and got the defenseman they have wanted for years when he took less money and less years to become a Ranger and be reunited with his old teammate and friend Martin St. Louis. What wasn't addressed in free agency was the center spot. Going by what Rangers General Manager Glen Sather has said this summer, he expects J.T. Miller to fill the role of third line center.
The New York Rangers went on a wild ride last season and reached the Stanley Cup finals where they fell to the L.A. Kings by the slightest of margins. The next move will either catapult the Rangers forward or take a big step backwards. Where do the Rangers go with the Marc Staal situation? Does Joe Thorton waive his NTC to play with Rick Nash? Do the Rangers agree with the arbitrators decisions or are Brassard, Zuccarello, Moore, and Chris Kreider extended to long term contracts? The Rangers are built for now, just a little tweak would be great but keeping or moving Marc Staal will be a huge move no matter what!
LET'S GO RANGERS!!!