The Rangers have five RFAs headed into the offseason. In order to qualify for offer sheet compensation, the organization must present qualifying offers to their RFAs before the start of free agency. All QOs are one year deals. Here are the salaries to be presented in the QOs:
- Ryan McDonagh: $826,875
- Derek Stepan: $826,875
- Carl Hagelin: $660,000
- Mats Zuccarello: $735,000
- Mike Sauer (not expected to receive a QO): $1.25 million
Of the five RFAs, Sauer will likely not receive a QO. None of the other four will accept their QO either. This is just a step in the process.
The Rangers have been burned by ex-Devils before, but that’s not what should keep them away from David Clarkson
We all know that converted Devils haven’t made for the best Rangers. It’s an inescapable trend, but it would also be foolish for the team to make decisions based on past history rather than judging what individual players bring to the table.
So with that said, GM Glen Sather and company should give serious thought to making a run at pending UFA winger David Clarkson.
Prior to last season, Clarkson was best known for being a pest, unafraid to drop the gloves and often yapping away at opponents. In fact, his style was very reminiscent of former Ranger fan favorite Sean Avery.
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Ryan McDonagh is going to be the trickiest RFA to sign.
When news broke yesterday of Roman Josi’s new contract with the Nashville Predators ($28 million over 7 years), focus immediately shifted to Ryan McDonagh. After all, McDonagh and Josi are very comparable players. They are both coming off their ELCs. They are both top-pairing defensemen. They are both arbitration eligible. Most importantly, they are both likely to receive some attention on the RFA market.
However, that is where the similarities end. Josi has just one lockout-shortened full season, and 52 games in his rookie year last year. He has put up lines of 5-11-16 and 5-13-18 in each of those seasons respectively. Meanwhile, McDonagh has an extra full season under his belt, and has a 30 point season as well. On paper, McDonagh is the more credentialed defenseman.
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Keep Boyle or try to trade him?
When Dave and the staff here at Blue Seat Blogs first conjured up the concept of “Stay or Go” posts, they were originally meant to be for current roster players on the verge of free agency. Although Boyle isn’t a free agent this offseason — his deal is up next year — I think it’s worth discussing moving the big fella given our cap issues and some of our roster needs.
By no means am I part of the “Boyle is too soft” crowd, nor do I think we need to acquire players with reputations for taking guys heads off, as some have suggested. No, the bottom 6 help I’m looking for should resemble what you’ve been watching in Boston, LA, Chicago, Pittsburgh, even Ottawa. If you watched those teams closely, there’s a noticeable difference in foot speed between those respective team’s bottom 6 guys and that of our own. We are just too damn slow and Boyle exemplifies that point.
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Rick Stewart/Getty Images
With this summer’s free agent market perhaps the weakest in recent memory, and with the Rangers having multiple holes to fill, nothing would please the organization more than a prospect (or two) stepping up and forcing their way onto the 2013-14 roster. With the Rangers needing more of everything – scoring, depth, size, physical presence, face off ability, special teams upgrades – there are plenty of prospects close to making the jump.
The problem for the Rangers is timing. They already have a slew of bottom six forwards who could be moved, and should they spend cap dollars on forwards in the offseason they are, to an extent, committed to inserting the new recruits into the line up regardless of how the rookies play pre-season. That said, players such as Jesper Fast, Oscar Lindberg and the usual suspects – Chris Kreider and JT Miller – are surely close to securing roster spots. Let’s consider the merits of the Swedish pair who so many Rangers fans are eagerly awaiting.
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Earlier this morning, myself and Kevin were discussing this article by Jim Murphy at ESPN Boston where Murphy dropped a bombshell. Current President and General Manager Glen Sather is considering stepping down as GM of the Rangers. Murphy, who is not a noted irresponsible rumormongerer (he is not an Eklund type), noted that Slats would retain his role as President of the club.
Murphy continues, saying that Jim Schoenfeld or Doug Risebrough (former Minnesota Wild GM) could be next in line. However, he does not mention Jeff Gorton, who took the reigns when Slats had surgery for prostate cancer, as a potential replacement.
During his press conference following the firing of John Tortorella, Sather insisted that he would remain in his current role next season, so perhaps this transition will be a slow one.
More news on this will come in the following weeks, but this is something to keep an eye on. Slats is almost 70 years old, and we knew this day was coming.
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The Rangers have a lot of work to do this offseason. In addition to addressing the glaring holes in the lineup, they need to do everything they can to re-sign their core RFAs (Ryan McDonagh, Carl Hagelin, Derek Stepan). Of the three core RFAs, who are all about to receive their second NHL contracts, only Stepan is not eligible for arbitration. It’s unfortunate for Stepan, as he finished the season as the Rangers leading scorer. He loses a lot of leverage without arbitration.
Estimating Stepan’s contract is tough. The Rangers haven’t had to re-up a player on their second deal the season after he led the team in scoring. In fact, the closest situation the Rangers have had to the Stepan situation is Brandon Dubinsky’s second contract, and the only similarity there is that neither player is/was arbitration eligible. For this, we need to go to other organizations to determine market value. We don’t need to go far to estimate the Stepan contract. Philadelphia had a very similar situation with Claude Giroux after the 2010-2011 season.
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Del Zotto needs to improve, and he will be given the time to do so.
Michael Del Zotto is a whipping boy for many, and his underwhelming season hasn’t helped him convince certain groups of fans –and media– of his long-term future being in New York. That said, Del Zotto is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Depending on how the offseason plays out, the Rangers are not exactly blessed with a ton of offense from their blueline, emphasizing the need for an in-form Del Zotto. Unless John Moore’s development is a lot quicker than anticipated, Del Zotto remains the number one offensive blueliner in New York.
Then there is the relatively painful, drawn out contract situation that went on last offseason. Glen Sather doesn’t go through such a protracted –at times public– negotiation if he doesn’t a) believe the player is the right fit for the Rangers, or b) he doesn’t have viable alternatives. Del Zotto should factor into both aspects, as there are a clear lack of alternatives at any level of the Rangers system. Should Del Zotto find some consistency, his game fits well with the Rangers current DNA.
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The Edmonton Oilers surprised a few people yesterday when they fired head coach Ralph Krueger after just one lockout shortened season. While the Oilers organization was a bit cryptic about the firing, the reason became clear a few hours after the firing. The Oilers will actually be hiring Toronto Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins, with a press conference slated for tomorrow.
Eakins was a top coaching candidate for a lot of teams with coaching vacancies, including the Rangers. It is rumored that Alain Vigneault is still the front runner for the job in New York, with names like Ken Gernander, Mark Messier, and Lindy Ruff still in the mix.
Two Ranger draft picks from 2012 are on the initial World Junior Championship evaluation camp roster. Defenseman Brady Skjei (1st) and forward Boo Nieves (2nd) were both included on the list that has 16 defensemen and 24 forwards. Last year, Skjei was one of the final defensemen cut for the 2012 WJC Tournament. It is expected that both will get a long look at this year’s evaluation camp.