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Monday, August 6, 2012

Does Doan Fit?


The universal buzz is unrestricted free agent RW Shane Doan is seeking a 4-year deal with his clubs of interest, one being ours truly. Will he fetch $7.5 million/year for four years? That's the reported asking price. I'd like to do some brainstorming on the aspects of Doan's potential to sign in NY.
My last post emphasized a certain restriction of vital action from Rangers GM Glen Sather until the new CBA is put to bed. Quite simply overpaying Doan until the ripe age of 40 with potential no-move clauses is a debatable issue. But if there's some unseen variable yet to be introduced, say a firm direction or amendment to the direction of the salary cap rules we've had since 2005, putting a number on Doan becomes that much more complicated.

   For the sake of argument, let's say we sign Doan for 4-years for the exact same salary cap hit Chris Drury had for his ever popular stint on Broadway: $7.05 million/year with a no-move clause. Additionally, the season starts on-time. Gaborik/Sauer are on long-term injury reserve enough to free up $2.25 million in cap relief, while Michael Del Zotto receives a 2-year, $2.333 million/yr contract. Where do we stand?

   For the upcoming season, the mid-to-high sixty-millions is probably the brink of where payroll wants to be for your top 26 roster spots. The immediate season is (probably) a snug salary cap fit, with a dangerous and dynamic team (probably) in contention for Stanley Promiseland.

   But what happens next year when bluechip youngsters are due raises? Judging by the massive dropoff in payroll from '13-'14 to '14-'15, Stepan/Hagelin/McDonagh could be given 1-year deals following their entry level expiration, only to be given appropriately significant pay raises with longer contracts. There's an entire season yet to be established and/or played, but let's guesstimate what the future contracts of the RFA's could logically be...

Marc Staal's 2nd NHL contract was 5-years, $3.975 mil/yr
Ryan Callahan's 2nd NHL contract was 2-years, $2.300 mil/yr
Artem Anisimov's 2nd NHL contract was 2-years, $1.875 mil/yr
Brandon Dubinsky's 2nd NHL contract 2-years, $1.850 mil/yr
Michael Sauer's 2nd NHL contract was 2-years, $1.250 mil/yr   

   So let's say:

   Del Zotto is given 2-years, $2.333 mil/yr
   McDonagh is given 1-year, $2.333 mil/yr
   Stepan is given 1-year, $2.333 mil/yr
   Hagelin is given 1-year, $1.750 mil/yr

   Now how do we stand?

   Essentially such a method could be done, and the budget could cap out just under $70 million for the next 2 seasons. There would be approximately $40 million available for the summer of 2014, where Sather would could choose which players could be signed long-term and which to trade away for financial reasons. However, to pursue the temporary-contract philosophy in '13-'14, and especially the years afterwards, the salary cup itself must stay at least in the upper sixty-millions.

   Looking below at the final graph of the exercise, we'll lessen Doan's potential deal this summer to $6.333 mil/yr for 4 years. Additionally, the pink salmon colored boxes will represent cost of replacement; a designated amount to spend on re-signing or replacing a player after his contract is expired. We're also designating guesstimates for the cost of Ryan Callahan, Henrik Lundqvist, Dan Girardi and others to stay around the next 5 seasons. (Again, this is not serious data, it is a rough idea as to how Doan's potential addition will effect 'the big picture' later on).

   Even if 2015-2018 is a faraway time to worry about the Rangers roster, it's worth noting it may very well be a far fall from 2013 & 2014. The long-term money tied up in Richards/Nash and potentially Doan are handcuffs for the youngsters getting raises proportional to deal length. '14-'15 will probably be the time where Sather makes hard decisions on whom or whom not to allocate money to. We may be very well stuck with twilighting Doan/Richards eating up a significant chunk of available room. But as for the next 2 seasons, the franchise can be sustained even with a Doan overpayment, and the mercy of a salary cap which doesn't decline until 2014 when tons of money is coming off the books.

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