With the Marc Staal trade, both the Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers gain benefits that make sense for where they are. The rebuilding Red Wings gain a 2021 second-round pick and a veteran in Marc Staal, while the Rangers save $5.7 million in cap space for 2020-21.
(And, um, receive “future considerations.” Uh huh.)
Red Wings receive: Marc Staal, 2021 second-round pick
Rangers receive: $5.7M in cap space from trading Staal, “future considerations.”
Rangers gain some serious cap flexibility, perhaps room for free agent splurge?
With Cap Friendly estimating the Rangers at a bit more than $20M in space, they have some interesting flexibility.
Now, that number can be a little misleading out of context. After all, it’s based on 14 roster spots being filled, so Rangers players will eat that up. That said, it will be interesting to see if the Rangers have more tricks up their sleeves, especially if they might want to move on from RFAs such as Ryan Strome and/or Anthony DeAngelo.
Either way, moving on from that $5.7M gives the Rangers options.
And it’s not as if the Rangers lack draft assets to continue rebuilding while also possibly flirting with another free agent splash after seeing Artemi Panarin become a Hart Trophy finalist in 2019-20.
As you likely remember, the Rangers won the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery, almost certainly netting them Alexis Lafreniere. Even if Lafreniere hits the mark for various incentives, his entry-level contract will likely be a boon for the Rangers.
By also trading Brady Skjei to the Hurricanes, the Rangers have two first-rounders for 2020. While the Rangers now lack second-rounders in 2020 and 2021, they enjoy quality (two first-rounders, two third-rounders) and quantity (three seventh-rounders) in the upcoming 2020 NHL Draft.
In other words … Rangers GM Jeff Gorton is still doing some strong work. (Even if there’s the occasional Jacob Trouba disappointment to go with a Panarin smash success.)
Red Wings absorb final year of Staal deal to bolster rebuild
Yes, you can sell the addition of Marc Staal. Granted, you’d be leaning heavily on “good in the room” and “veteran leadership”-type subjective viewpoints.
“Marc Staal has been an exemplary hockey player, teammate, and person from the moment he joined the New York Rangers organization,” Rangers exec John Davidson said. “A consummate professional, Marc’s perseverance and dedication to the game made him such an integral part of our organization.”
On the ice? Frankly, Staal’s been limited for quite some time, if not an active detriment to the Rangers’ success.
One sneaky plus for the Red Wings is that Staal won’t actually cost them $5.7M. Considering the financial uncertainty of these times, and the Red Wings’ likely place as a lower-end team in 2020-21, that’s no small concern.
Staal’s total salary for 2020-21 is $4.2M, and the Rangers likely already paid his $1M salary bonus. So the Red Wings pay $3.2M while filling up $5.7M of cap space.
But, most of all, the Red Wings receive a second-round pick in 2021 for their troubles. As someone who’s called upon Steve Yzerman and Pierre Dorion to load up on picks by weaponizing cap space, the Marc Staal trade is a textbook example.
(OK, squeezing out a first-rounder would have been even better, but still.)
Consider the Red Wings’ boatload of draft assets:
- They pick fourth overall in 2020. Odds are high that their 2021 first-round pick will be a premium one, too.
- Detroit owns three second-round picks in both 2020 and 2021 (so six second-rounders during the next two drafts).
- But wait, there’s more: two third-round picks in each of the next two drafts.
Being that Cap Friendly estimates the Red Wings’ cap space at about $27.375M, Yzerman would be wise to survey the landscape and replicate this Marc Staal trade. The Red Wings have been busy lately, also signing Sam Gagner and Robby Fabbri in recent moves.
This continues a tumultuous off-season for the Staal family, as Eric Staal was traded to the Sabres for Marcus Johansson. Should Jordan Staal avoid putting his phone on silent for a while?
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.