During Day Two of the draft yesterday, Brandon Prust tweeted that he appears to be parting ways with the Rangers organization, and will sign elsewhere on July 1:
I wish management wanted me back as much as the fans.. Thanks for the love everyone
Per Larry Brooks, the disagreement between Prust and Rangers brass is about $400,000 annually:
The 28-year-old winger, who is coming off a two-year deal in which he earned $800,000 per, is believed to be seeking a three-year contract in the range of $6.6 million while the Rangers are offering approximately $1.2 million less than that over the life of the contract.
Breaking this down, Prust wants roughly $2.2 million per year, and the Rangers are offering $1.8 million per season. The difference of $400,000 per year means Prust would earn $1.2 million less over the life of the contract.
Looking at Prust objectively, $2.2 million for a fourth line player is a bit absurd. With Brian Boyle making $1.7 million and Mike Rupp making $1.5 million, Prust’s demands for $2.2 million means he would be one of the highest paid fourth line players in the league, and the highest paid bottom six player on the Rangers not named Brandon Dubinsky.
While players often value themselves higher than they might actually be worth, perhaps the most alarming and disappointing aspect of this is that Prust appears to be unwilling to negotiate with the Rangers on that price tag. It’s perfectly understandable that he wants to get his payday now, but for a player that has said money isn’t everything, it sure does seem that way.
Prust is a valuable Ranger. He is a warrior on the ice and appears to be a great character guy in the locker room. However, outside of that, what he brings to the table on the ice is easily replaced. He fights, he plays on the fourth line, and that’s it. There are cheaper options that add more value than just fourth line toughness (see: Konopka, Zenon).
Prust doesn’t take face offs, he doesn’t score goals. The two main things he has going for him are his penalty killing ability and his willingness to drop the gloves. At $2.2 million, that’s an awful lot to pay for someone who has scored just 24 goals over his career. With the Rangers needing to sign Michael Del Zotto, Artem Anisimov, Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin, Ryan McDonagh, and Mike Sauer over the next two seasons, the money they save by letting Prust walk goes a long way to retaining the core members of this club.
Hockey is a business. Prust believes he can get $2.2 million on the open market. Hopefully he gets what he’s looking for. But what happens if he gets to July 1 and he finds out the Rangers had the best offer?