The Rangers are clicking on all cylinders right now and it is about to come to a halt due to the Olympics this weekend. There are alot of questions when the NHL starts up after the Olympics, like will the Rangers pick up right where they left off or will having the most players in the Olympics who play large roles on this team, alittle jet lagged, tired and have to re-adjust which will take a few games. A bigger question is, will all of the current players still be with the organization? There are 7 unrestricted free agents on this years team and there are alot of rumors at all levels from MSG network to TSN about Captain Ryan Callahan and defenseman Dan Girardi being offered up in trades due to their asking contract prices. With each of these decisions, there are at least 2 or 3 alternate decisions to be made from each key player.
First of all, G.M. Glen Sather needs to know if he will even be around next season as G.M. with his health situation or will he take a step back and let someone else take over the everyday running of the G.M. job. Whoever is going to make these changes to the Rangers of signing either or both players will lead to changes next season. Then he needs to figure out if he is going to use his second compliance buyout on Brad Richards. Most people think this is a no brainer, but you have to realize that there are alot of organizations that will have trouble reaching the cap floor(minimum cap space to be spent on team in order to have a legal NHL team) and the last few years his cap hit is $6.66 while all he is paid in real money is $1 million dollars, so he could be in demand from a few of the smaller markets near the end of the contract. Going by Capgeek.com and throwing money around like crazy, it is very possible to keep Richards, give Callahan $6 million per(I can see 6 years at $6 mil per) and Girardi at $5.4(5 years at $5.4 per) and keep most of the team together. The real questions won't be on the top name players but more along the lines of the young guns and free agents that have filled roles for this years team.
The real questions will be are they willing to give Derick Brassard the $3.7 qualifier(I say 3 years at $4 per), what raise will Mats Zuccarello get(maybe 3 years at $3 per), Chris Kreider(bridge contract like Stepan's of 2 years at $3.075), John Moore(bridge contract like DelZotto's of 2 years at $2.55 per). A very big question will be, do they stay with Brian Boyle and raise him to around $2.5 per or give that money to Benoit Pouliot? Alot of that would be depending on the other pieces like Brassard and Zuccarello it would seem. Or does Sather and the organization feel that a few players from Hartford are ready for the jump to the NHL at a cheaper rate like Danny Kristo(RFA around $1 mil qualifier), Oscar Lindberg, J.T. Miller, Jesper Fast, and Connor Allen to name a few. Who would of thought that Cam Talbot was ready for prime time this season? With keeping Richards and most of this years players and adding players who easily could make the jump in Miller, Allen, and Lindberg, the Rangers would still be way under the cap by over $3 million, and that is also with Cally and Girardi at the above numbers, so they could actually go higher than those numbers.
So you see, the cap numbers aren't the problem for the Rangers, it's who does this organization think the Rangers need to get Hank the cup! With Henrik Lundqvist only 4 wins behind Mike Richter for the most wins between the pipes as a Rangers goalie, it would be nice for his number to someday be retired as a Stanley Cup Champion along as having the franchise wins record!!
Make the right move Snake, we are all waiting!! The Kevin Klien for Michael Del Zotto was a nice start, but lets get everyone else in place and settle in for a long playoff run!!! LET'S GO RANGERS!!