New York Rangers GM Glen Sather can often be a walking punchline. He gave superstar contracts to decidedly normal players such as Bobby Holik and Chris Drury. Few will forget the draft blunder that was Hugh Jessiman.
Still, there might be some faint signs of competence in the last year of so. After somehow tricking the Canadiens to trade for Scott Gomez’s awful contract, I wasn’t crazy about his signing of Marian Gaborik. He is working out at the moment, but the extremely injury prone sniper could end up being a $37.5 million mistake. When healthy, though, Gaborik is a significant upgrade over the Alaskan playmaker Gomez. In a stunning second beneficial trade, Sather traded for Olli Jokinen’s contract (which will open up $5.25 million when the Finn’s contract expires).
Long story short, the team’s situation is slightly improved but still murky. Let’s take a quick snapshot of the team’s 2010-11 cap scenario.
The Rangers’ 2010-11 cap commitments (some amounts rounded up for simplicity)
Forwards (8 of 12 needed): Gaborik ($7.5 million); Drury (7.05); Callahan (2.3); Avery (1.94); Dubinsky (1.85); Voros (1); Anisimov (822k); Boyle (525k)
Defense (4 of 6): Redden (6.5); Rosival (5); Gilroy (1.75); Del Zotto (1.09)
Goalies: (1 of 2): Lundqvist (6.88)
Cap space: about $12.82 million
Follow the jump for some analysis of the Rangers’ cap situation.
The number one priority for the Rangers’ off-season has to be re-signing Marc Staal. After looking over some stat comparisons at Dobber Hockey, Staal is the team’s defensive time on ice leader, one of its main penalty killers and continues to improve offensively (23 points so far) despite getting very little time on the PP.
So how much can Staal get? Your guess is as good as mine. Let’s say Staal’s cap hit works out to $4 million. That would give the Rangers about $8 million to allocate to one goalie, one defenseman and four forwards. Unless they manage to get rid of Redden, Rosival and/or Drury, the best the Rangers can hope for is a mid-range forward.
Like I said, the Rangers must depend heavily upon young, cheap players with all the dead weight on their roster. Things are still a bit bleak for MSG’s favorite hockey team, but at least things are better than they were last year.