Jeff Gorton has some decisions to make about the future of the New York Rangers.
In our last post we discussed what we considered to be the top five priorities facing the New York Rangers and Jeff Gorton this off-season. It was an easy list to compile and are issues that all Ranger fans are well aware of. It’s an indication of what needs to be done that it wasn’t difficult to round out the list and come up with five more priorities.
Here are the first five:
- Resolve the goalie situation
- What to do with the first overall pick in the draft
- Signing those Restricted Free Agents
- Finding toughness
- A partner for Trouba
If you want to see more on our take on the his top five priorities, click here.
While the flat salary cap is a huge issue facing ever NHL team, there are other topic that Gorton will need to address. Here are the next five priorities he will have to tackle over the next eight to ten weeks.
#6 Free Agent Jesper Fast
If you ask his teammates, Jesper Fast is the New York Rangers MVP. The annual winner of the Players’ Player Award, he is the hardest working player on the team. He is a leader, is tough and is their best defensive forward. If there is one player who is hard to play against, Fast makes the list on sheer effort.
It is believed that Fast wants to stay in New York and is willing to take a hometown discount to re-sign. Unfortunately, Fast is the kind of player that coaches love (hello Alain Vigneault?) and when the free agency window opens on October 9, that hometown discount could disappear.
Ironically, the flat salary cap could benefit the Rangers when it comes to Fast. Cap strapped teams will be hard pressed to overpay for a “glue” guy like Fast and the teams that could use him the most are contenders and most of them have absolutely no cap space.
There are dominoes that will need to fall in order for Fast to stay. A Lundqvist buyout or retirement will free up cap space. How negotiations go with the team’s Restricted Free Agents will give Gorton some answers on how much cash he will have. The problem is a contract for Fast will have to wait at least until after Gorton settles his RFA situation and by that time, the free agency window will open and the Swede will have a better read on his value.
If Fast is willing to take that discount, Gorton would be wise to get him under contract. A No Movement or No Trade Clause could be a deal breaker with the Seattle expansion draft a year away, but the idea of Jesper Fast on the Rangers, serving as a mentor and role model to his younger teammates has to be a Gorton priority.