For the New York Rangers, this off season will be one of cross checking. No, not the kind that will find you in the penalty box, but comparing what players have done this season compared to what they are making/worth as contract expire in 31 days.
During the playoffs, many of the Rangers showed they were worth their contracts as they set up play after play that became series changers. Brian Boyle was signed last summer for $1.7 million and many people questioned if he was really worth that kind of money. Sure enough, Boyle stepped it up and finished the playoffs with 3 goals and 3 assists in 17 games, a much better production than in season when he only managed 11 goals and 15 assists in 82 games.
Brad Richards was another one who showed his $6.6 million contract worth as the playoffs rolled on. While he did hit 25 goals and 41 assists in 82 games, his 6 goals and 9 assists in all 20 playoff games is really where he shined as Marian Gaborik slipped.
A third player who really showed his contract worth was new comer Chris Kreider. Stepping in to the Rangers line up after winning the Frozen Four with Boston College, Kreider had zero NHL experience but still managed to get 5 goals and 2 assists in 18 games. His $1.325 million contract seems to be well worth it. I wonder how much of a factor his desire to continue missing classes pushed him during the playoffs.
But what about the other players? In this off season 11 contracts are up. Some are obviously not returning while others have giant question marks over their contracts.
Like John Scott. He was brought in at the trade deadline, presumably to assist in enforcing but only played in 6 games for the Rangers. At $512,500 a year, Scott isn’t a big investment but his purpose is still a bit hazy. And with Stu Bickel on the team, Scott is pretty redundant. Bickel is another one who’s future is up in the air with his contract expiring this July. Currently Bickel make $600,000 which is a worth investment if Mike Rupp continues to struggle to enforce.
And after such a big deal about the shot blocking was made, what kind of future do the defensemen have? Michael Del Zotto, Anton Stralman, Steve Eminger, Jeff Woywitka, plus Bickel and Scott, all have contracts up this summer.
Will the Rangers see it fit to increase Eminger’s $800,000 contract? Will he stick around New York for equal or less money? How much playing time will they see now that Marc Staal has returned to the line up under full strength? In my opinion, the defensemen returning will be MDZ, Stralman, and Bickel to round out the the all stars.
Offensively, you can say good by to Mats Zuccarello. Despite his hard work and effort, John Tortorella did not find a place for him in the lineup, leaving Zucc to only play in 10 games before breaking his hand. And in my personal opinion, John Mitchell is as good as gone.
That leaves Ruslan Fedotenko and Brandon Prust up in the air. The Rangers would be foolish to let Feds walk away this July. His contract is for $1.4 million and with it he brings not only experience playing, but also Stanley Cup winning experience. Outside of Rupp (who is prime for a buyout) and Richards, Feds is the only player on the team with a Cup (actually he’s won two).
As for Prust? I really hope the guy sticks around. Clearly a Torts favorite, just count how many times Prust was on the ice in the final two minutes of every playoff game, I have to imagine a large chunk of money will be set aside for Prust to stick around. Currently signed for $800,000, Prust may see an offer to the tune of $1.1 or $1.2 million.
Watch, after doing all this research and speculation, I’m wrong. The law of averages has to be on my side, right?
Let’s Go Rangers!