New York Rangers: The Case for Jarret Stoll


In the event that Jeff Gorton and the New York Rangers front office somehow are unable to re-sign star free agent, Derek Stepan, through arbitration they are going to need to replace Stepan with someone at least comparable to him, if not statistically, then at least in skill and accomplishment.

New York Rangers
New York Rangers /

New York Rangers

At 33-years-old, Jarret Stoll should be looking to close out an admirable career which resulted in two Stanley Cups with the Los Angeles Kings, the last of which he won in 2014 against the Rangers.

Life has not been very kind for Mr. Stoll since that moment. His contract expired with the Kings this year – his least productive year since his rookie season in Edmonton. A total of only 17 points in 73 games, as well as an arrest for Cocaine and Ecstasy possession in Las Vegas, was evidently enough for Kings GM Dean Lombardi to tell Stoll to kick rocks and find employment elsewhere.

Enter the New York Rangers with this delicious quagmire that is worthy of a lecture in arbitration at Columbia Law School.

In spite of their star center, Derek Stepan, putting together quite a career in the Big Apple, scoring 252 points in 362 games played, appearing in one Stanley Cup (against Jarret Stoll), two Eastern Conference Finals, 80 lifetime playoff games with 41 points in said playoffs, somehow there is justification in Rangers GM Jeff Gorton’s mind that Stepan is not worth a long term deal, at least not one that meets Stepan’s satisfaction.

Somehow, in spite of trading long time winger Carl Hagelin with the supposed intent to clear up cap room for Stepan, they gotta bring in the lawyers.

As I noted in a previous article, when measured intrinsically within the Rangers very talented nucleus, Stepan is worth at least 7 million, but who am I?

Dec 30, 2014; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Los Angeles Kings forward Jarret Stoll (28) skates against the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Jarret Stoll’s previous contract with the Kings was for three years at $9.75 million; about $3 million per. Give or take the same amount of money that the Rangers were paying Stepan (per year) in this previous contract. One would believe in regards to Stoll that this brief stint in the Clark County Jail in which the NHL Players Union is being conspicuously neutral on, compounded with age, and his lack of productivity in the past few seasons would bring his asking price down to at least a million.

Stoll is a versatile center. He has proven to be a very physical defensive center at 6’1″ and 212 lbs (which the Rangers can certainly use), a respectable scoring threat that can be used to anchor the second line, and he’s experienced and playoff tested. Considering the current Cup or bust mentality that the Rangers are facing: Problem solved.

Well, not quite. It doesn’t solve the long term as signing Stepan would. It’s a temporary band-aid to fix a problem and a risky one.

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In the event the Rangers do take this route, it would be a short term deal which would put a fire under the coaching staff’s butt to either develop natural left winger, Kevin Hayes into a center (in which he played respectably in this role during Stepan’s absence due to a broken leg), pull someone out of the prospect pipeline or sign a comparable free agent to Stoll, which most likely would result in either trading or releasing some players, further aggravating the chemistry of this team that is destined to do so much.

As for the right now, the only comparable center that the Rangers can sign and keep their cap from exploding like a Wall Street bubble, is Stoll. Of course, one should also look at this from the standpoint that the Rangers need to be that much more zealous in their attempts to sign Stepan because the domino effect of this can be devastating.

The whole thing reminds me of a little comic strip in a magazine that I was reading one day. It depicted a serotonin happy Karl Rove on top of a building with the bubble coming out of his mouth saying “Sure, capitalism can work out its kinks.”

What do you think, New York Rangers fans? Could Stoll fill the void in the event that we can’t sign Stepan?

Next: Should the New York Rangers Trade Kevin Klein?

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