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OTG POLL

What do you think of the Rangers season so far?

Quite surprised
Modestly surprised
As expected
Worse than expected
Terrible

Previous Polls
 INJURY REPORT
Vladislav Namestnikov 12/7
Expected to be in the line-up tonight
 
Mats Zuccarello 12/7
Appears as if he will not be in the line-up tonight, but has been rotating in during practice
 
Pavel Buchnevich 12/7
Skating as an extra in practice, close to returning
 
Adam McQuaid 12/7
Is skating in a non-contact jersey as he edges closer to a return
 
Kevin Shattenkirk 12/11
Left the arena with his arm in a sling, and likely won't know the extent of the injury until Wednesday
 
Cody McLeod 11/23
Broken hand will keep out to about New Year's eve
 
  MORE INJURY NEWS...
SEPTEMBER 24TH, 2014
CAPTION THIS
Read the submissions so far and see if you can come up with the best caption for today's photo

Best Of:
2014-15 ~ 2013-14
2012-13 ~ 2011-12
2010-11 ~ 2009-10

RUMOR MILL

Tuesday - October 25th

Either Josh Jooris (New York Daily News) or Dylan McIlrath are likely to find themselves on waivers when Pavel Buchnevich returns from back spasms.

The team is expected to cut the roster down to 22 players, and as such one of the two will need to be either moved or sent down.

  MORE RUMORS...

Question Of The Day

September 29th, 2017

How many rostered players were on the ice for opening night 2016-17

Answer...
  BIRTHDAYS

Bill MacKenzie - 1911
Clint Smith - 1913
John McKenzie - 1937

  SEARCH BIRTHDAYS
  RANDOM RANGER

JOE ZANUSSI
(1974-1975)
  Born: Sep 25 - 1947  
  Pos: Defense  
  GP: 8  
  G: 0  
  A: 2  
  Pts: 2  
  PIMs: 4  
 

Putting On The Thinking Cap
Posted by Toby Ivey ≡ - February 14, 2008

With the announcement today that the Rangers have signed Henrik Lundqvist to a contract extension, the Rangers now have a better sense of what they might be able to take on contract wise at the deadline and for next season over the Summer. Reports on the deal (from USA Today and FAN590 in Toronto) suggest that the cap hit for Lundqvist's contract will be $6.875M per year (the average of the $41.25M over 6 years), when this is added to the contracts for Chris Drury and Scott Gomez, we have a good sense of where the franchise is heading.

At this stage of the season, the Rangers have about $2-3M of contract space they can play with. The challenge of course is that also have about $3M in potential bonus money to pay out to Dan Girardi and Brendan Shanahan. Under the CBA rules, any portion of that bonus money can be deferred to next season, with the associated impact on next year's cap figure. Specifically the rules allow for 35+ year old veterans on one year contracts and players on entry level contracts such as Dan Girardi to have the cap hit for bonus money deferred to the following season.

While this does provide the Rangers with some options, perhaps the better option would be to move one or more of their higher priced players this season, a list that includes Jaromir Jagr ($4.9M), Martin Straka ($3M), Paul Mara ($3M) or Marek Malik ($2.5M). Of course moving these players is not going to be easy, and the Rangers will need NHL players in return.

The simplest option would be for the Rangers to make a trade for a similar player and contract with another team. The opportunity to make such a trade is probably minimal at this stage of the season, with most teams who are ready to become sellers, looking to build for the future (i.e. younger players, prospects and picks) and most teams who're looking to add veterans, offering up those very same packages of picks, players and prospects.

Perhaps the exception to this rule would be those teams who are looking to unload underperforming veterans signed to larger contracts, with of course the associated risk transferred to the team accepting the contract. This scenario also brings up the impact to the Rangers for the next season...

Looking ahead to 2008-09, the Rangers now have 10 of their current roster of 23 players under contract. Specifically they including the following players and their associated cap hits:

Scott Gomez7,357,143
Chris Drury7,050,000
Henrik Lundqvsit6,875,000
Petr Prucha1,600,000
Marc Staal826,667
Brandon Dubinsky633,333
Blair Betts615,000
Ryan Callahan575,000
Colton Orr537,500
Ryan Hollweg512,500


Total: 10 players for $26,582,143

With the Salary Cap expected to rise to anywhere between $52 and $54 million for next year, that will give the Rangers approximately $25 to $27 million to sign the remaining thirteen players to fill out their roster.

Of the players who are currently playing, it would seem likely that the Rangers will attempt to re-sign Sean Avery, Dan Girardi, Nigel Dawes and Fedor Tyutin.

For his part, Avery was looking reportedly for around $3.3M last Summer during a contentious arbitration experience. Ultimately he was awarded $1.9M, but it's expected that he would command a significant raise despite a largely non-descript season that has been hindered by injuries. Glen Sather has indicated interest in re-signed the agitator, and a deal would seem likely...if Avery decides to pass up the opportunity for unrestricted free agency.

Dan Girardi also figures to get a significant raise from his current contract of $730K. Girardi has been playing first pair minutes for much of this season, and realistically could command around $1-$1.5M, as would his partner Fedor Tyutin who current earns $987K. If you figure the pair are going to get $2.5M between them, you're probably not far off.

While there are still plenty of detractors out there, Nigel Dawes still has a couple of advantages over other options. He's young, and he's relatively cheap for the offense he produces. Currently on a contract that pays hinm $496K, Dawes could probably expect a new offer in the $650K range and would certainly be of value to the Rangers as a cheap wing option.

Figure the total for the re-signings will be in the realm of $5.6-$6M for the four of them.

Total: 14 players for $33-$33.5M

Now come the tougher calls...

It would not seem unlikely that the Rangers will attempt to re-sign Michal Rozsival ($2.1M), Stephen Valiquette ($616K) and Marcel Hossa ($780K).

Michal Rozsival is realistically the lead offensive threat from the blueline for the Rangers, and from an offensive perspective, he's been a relatively cheap. Defensively, he hasn't been as strong and with Jaromir Jagr likely becoming a UFA this Summer, does it make sense to look elsewhere.

In the minors Bobby Sanguinetti promises to be an intriguing option in the future, but there's certainly a question over when he might be NHL ready. Other options at the trade deadline could include players like Dan Boyle (TBL), Brian Campbell (BUF) and maybe even Brad Stuart (LAK) or Rob Blake (LAK). All four players are set to be UFA's at the end of the season, and would require some significant dollars to retain. Rob Blake has already indicated he'll re-sign with the Kings.

Boyle ($3.3M) and Campbell ($1.5M) in particular look set to earn contract of four to six years if they go to the market, and could earn as much as $5M per year, by contrast Michal Rozsival might fall into a three to four year contract for around $3.5 - $4M though free agency might see that number rise.

In net, the Rangers have gotten good value out of Steve Valiquette and re-signing him for a modest raise, perhaps $700-$750K would be enough to keep him around the organization. Alternatives are likely to cost as much if not more, and bringing in Al Montoya (an RFA this summer) would see the number jump over $1M.

Finally Marcel Hossa is still waiting to break out, and if it wasn't for his being an RFA this Summer, I would think it highly likely that he'd be gone. It seems within the realm of reason that the Rangers give him the standard offer to retain his rights (1 year - $860K), but letting him go would be no great surprise either.

If you figure the Rangers do re-sign those three players...

Total: 17 players for $38.5-$40M

That leaves the team with approximately $12-$14M to sign six players, though those six include three of their top forwards: Jaromir Jagr ($4.9M), Brendan Shanahan ($2.5M + $2.8M bonuses) and Martin Straka ($3M) and three defensemen: Paul Mara ($3M), Marek Malik ($2.5M) and Jason Strudwick ($500K). Their current contract value is $18M, meaning the Rangers will need to replace them at a substantial discount.

On the defensive side, they do have a couple of options with prospects like Ivan Baranka and David Liffiton perhaps able to step up and provide competition for one of the spots, but that still would leave the Rangers searching for at least two replacements. Jason Strudwick could be an option as a re-sign for a similar sized contract, but Malik and Mara will likely have to be replaced for about two thirds of their current contracts.

At forward, Glen Sather has an event greater headache. Replacing three of the top offensive producers on the team is going to be challenging to say the least. Jaromir Jagr seems almost certain to miss the triggers for his option year, meaning the Rangers won't have to deal with his $4.9M on the books. But on a team that's struggled to find offensive, and with few options in Hartford, it would seem they will need to go onto the market for a free agent.

If they do make such a move, then that will mean they're likely going to have to sacrifice both any chance of resigning Shanahan and Straka. Another substantial contract on the books will mean they'll have to look for players available for $1-$2M to play on the top two lines, and that's not going to be easy.

Alexei Cherepanov remains an option (if they can get him out of Russia) and he will certainly be cheap, but how quickly will he be able to deliver in the NHL, a league much more physical than the Russian Super League where he plays this season.

Down in Hartford, guys like Lauri Korpikoski, Dane Byers, Greg Moore and Hugh Jessiman project to be role players at best, and beyond that the Rangers don't appear to have any other wing prospects who appear close to NHL readiness. Tomas Zaborsky and David Skokan will likely need time in Hartford, while Billy Ryan's career is up in the air following a disappointing year with Maine and a hip fracture that has kept him out of recent action.

Barring trades, a potential line-up for next season would be:

Dawes-Gomez-Cherepanov
Avery-Drury-????
Prucha-Dubinsky-Callahan
Hollweg-Betts-Orr

Tyutin-Girardi
Rozsival-Staal
????-????

Lundqvist
Valiquette

Reserve: Hossa, Strudwick

As you can see, the team is significantly short on proven offensive talent as well as size, and outside of Brandon Dubinsky, there's almost no size amongst the forward ranks.

Perhaps the best scenario for Glen Sather as the February 26th deadline approaches is to make some moves now, to not only jumpstart the team, but also to help set the team up for next year.

If Brian Campbell or Dan Boyle really are available, then Michal Rozsival potentially becomes expendable. Neither player will be cheap, though it's possible that Paul Mara, Marek Malik or even Michal Rozsival could be included in the package. It would also potentially free up some mone to ensure that Shanahan's bonus money goes into this year's Cap number, and gives Sather the chance to re-sign the player before they hit the free agent market (perhaps at a modest discount).

At forward, moving either Jaromir Jagr or Martin Straka, would likewise have a positive cap effect, but whether the team would have a relative improvement in play is not necessarily a given. While neither have contributed greatly from an offensive perspective this year, it's no easy feat to replace what they have produced.

Acquiring an offensive minded winger would certainly help, but the likelihood is that acquiring a player like Marian Hossa, will require younger players and picks going back the other way. The only option will likely be to trade the veterans to team looking to stock up for the playoffs and then use the proceeds to help buy a winger in return.

Whatever Glen Sather and the Rangers ultimately decide this year is likely to have an effect not only this year, but also next. Whether that is a positive or negative effect is yet to be determined.


Profile of the Author:
Has been an active follower of the New York Rangers since the 1996-97 season. Began OutsideTheGarden.com in 2001, and has continued to collect data and provide analysis on the team through to the current day.

 Additional stories from Toby Ivey:


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