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Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Road to October '11: Removing Redden?

   With the July free agent market only a week away, the sudden inability to buyout the remaining year on captain Chris Drury's contract is something which changes the dynamic of the NY Rangers' offseason. Drury's final contract year has him accounting for $7.05 million of the cap space, or roughly 11% of the 2011-12 salary ceiling of $64 million. The plan to buyout Drury would entail freeing up $3.33 million for '11-'12, but that's no longer an option.

   So what does this mean? Let's evaluate the month-by-month implications of a few things:

   When July 1st comes, before NY can sign any new contracts, there will already be $48.6 million tied up in 8 forwards, 5 defensemen and 2 goalies. Well... considering Drury will be injured & Redden will be re-waived to Hartford, it's really 7 forwards & 4 defensemen. That's 70% of the $70.6 million off-season cap.

xxxxxxxx ----- xxxxxxxx ----- M. Gaborik
xxxxxxxx ----- D. Stepan ----- xxxxxxxxx
W. Wolski - E. Christensen - M. Zuccarello
S. Avery  ------  C. Drury -------- B. Prust

W. Redden --------- M. Staal
R. McDonagh -----  D. Girardi
M. Del Zotto------- xxxxxxxxx

H. Lundqvist
M. Biron

What happens when we sign UFA Brad Richards for $8 million / year? We now have spent $56.6 million, leaving us $13.8 million to sign 4 forwards & 3 defensemen.

Brandon Dubinsky will very likely go to arbitration and receive something in then neighborhood of $3.25 million / 1 year. Ryan Callahan may be extended through negotiation or arbitrate as well, probably for something a tad higher like $3.75 million. That's $7 million for the pair to be retained one more year, before going UFA in summer 2012.

We now have $6.8 million remaining to fill these final gaps:

xxxxxxxx ---- B. Richards ----- M. Gaborik
B. Dubinsky -- D. Stepan ----- R. Callahan
W. Wolski - E. Christensen - M. Zuccarello
S. Avery  ------ xxxxxxxx -------- B. Prust

xxxxxxxxx --------- M. Staal
R. McDonagh -----  D. Girardi
M. Del Zotto------- xxxxxxxxx

H. Lundqvist
M. Biron

Brian Boyle has arbitration rights as well, and should look to be awarded about $2 million / 1 year if he arbitrates. Artem Anisimov does not have arbitration rights, so NYR can hold off on signing him until September if they so choose, which he'd receive roughly $1.75 million in a negotiated deal. Michael Sauer an arbitrate as well, where he'd likely receive something to the tune of $900,000 / 1 year. Additionally we'll assume a 7th defenseman is included for $750,000.

This leaves just $1.4 million remaining to fill the last remaining top-6 forward & top-4 defenseman gaps.

xxxxxxxx ---- B. Richards ----- M. Gaborik
B. Dubinsky -- D. Stepan ----- R. Callahan
W. Wolski --- A. Anisimov - M. Zuccarello
S. Avery  ------ B. Boyle  -------- B. Prust
                      E. Christensen

xxxxxxxxx --------- M. Staal
R. McDonagh -----  D. Girardi
M. Del Zotto ------- M. Sauer
7th Defenseman

H. Lundqvist
M. Biron

What if?... what if we bought out Redden in lieu of Drury? It would free up $4.67 million in cap space this year & $3.17 million the next two years. The downside? It would cost the cap $1.83 million per year for 3 years in which Redden wouldn't have otherwise been contracted. The proposition is that of trading the regular-season cap relief of Redden for 3 years in exchange for 6 years of a small tax to have more off-season cap relief the next 3 years.

What happens if Redden is waived the last week of June, before the buyout window closes?

Suddenly there's a little over $6 million to be spent on the remaining 2 roster gaps. We could go with a cheap winger and pricey market defenseman, or invest in two $3 million free agents. If we think that Dubinksy/Wolski/Avery are our top 3 left wingers, we could not even sign a forward and get a $6 million defenseman. Or, journeyman Vinny Prospal may be re-signed for another year.

Here's a loose example of what we're talking about, and what buying out Redden frees up in patchwork potential:

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