May 17, 2014; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Rangers forward Martin St-Louis (26) gets first star of the game in game one of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
According to reports, it appears unlikely at best that Martin St. Louis plays in a New York Rangers sweater for the 2015-2016 season. The Rangers would probably like to keep him, but their current salary cap situation doesn’t make that look possible unless they make a cap clearing trade.
Bolts by the Bay
Why is St Louis tough to replace?
St. Louis may be undersized and old, but he is still a valuable and versatile type player if he chooses to continue playing in the NHL. St. Louis can play on both special teams units, can score a timely goal and still has the ability to step up into any role he’s put into.
St. Louis may not be able to put up elite numbers, but he still has the hockey senses, his elite playmaking abilities at times and a precise one time shot. For the most part of the 2014-2015 season St. Louis played on the Rangers top six, which probably indicates that he can still play at least another season and be effective.
Inexperience and Uncertainty is Another Factor
Assuming St. Louis doesn’t re-sign with the Rangers, who replaces him? The Rangers can’t afford to pay a top six player more than $2 million a season given their current stance at the salary cap. So it might be up to forwards J.T Miller, Jesper Fast or possibly Carl Hagelin who has more experience playing on the top 6, but all still remained unsigned and are RFA’s for the Rangers.
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Both Miller and Fast stepped up in the Playoffs for a slumping Martin St. Louis and an injured Mats Zuccarello. But will both Miller and Fast be able to handle top six roles on a consistent basis? That’s a risk the Rangers might have to take if they are unable to free up more cap space.
Finding a way to re-sign Martin St. Louis is probably the best route to go for the Rangers, because he is probably the only free agent on the market that is willing to take some kind of pay cut and is capable of putting up at least 50 points. Sure, he had a nightmare of a 2014-15 postseason, but St. Louis adds depth and should be re-signed by the Rangers to be contenders again.
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