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What will the Rangers do with Wade Redden?

Jan 10, 2013, 10:47 AM EDT

Wade Redden Rangers

New York Rangers defenseman Wade Redden has two years remaining on his six-year, $39 million deal — a $6.5 million cap hit annually.

The problem, of course, is that Redden hasn’t played for the Rangers in two years.

Instead, he’s been banished to the AHL, where — under the previous collective bargaining agreement — New York was able to retain him while also getting his cap hit off the books.

But under the new CBA, the ol’ “stick ‘em in Connecticut!” cap circumvention play is out. Gone. Done. Never coming back.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie explains the Rangers now have three options for Redden moving forward, none of which are very appealing:

1) Stick him in the AHL and wait

The Rangers could continue letting Redden play for Connecticut, getting a minor cap hit haircut in the process:

Tere’s a provision in the new CBA that doesn’t allow the hiding of NHL contracts in the minors, save the first $900,000. 

[One plan] would be to send Redden to the AHL, absorb his $5 million-plus cap hit this season, which they have room for because teams can spend to $70M this season, and then use a compliance buyout this summer to erase the problem for next season.

The scary part here, of course, is if Redden gets hurt playing for the Whale. Teams can’t buy out injured players.

2) Trade him

The only way to eliminate the $6.5 million cap hit entirely would be to flip Redden to another club. That club, of course, would need to have both the available cap space and willingness to pay a guy that may go straight to the minors.

Since no team will likely offer this out of the goodness of its heart, it’s safe to assume the Rangers would have to pay a pretty penny just to get rid of Redden (with draft picks, or prospects.)

Would they want to do that with the compliance buyout just around the corner?

Note: The Rangers could, as has been pointed out in the comments section, try to move Redden by retaining a share of his salary/cap hit, one of the new wrinkles in the CBA. The Rangers could absorb up to 50 percent, but would be on the hook for two years.

3) Park him

From McKenzie:

The only other option for the Rangers is to take Redden’s cap hit this season but not play him. Not in New York. Not in the AHL. Not anywhere.

Put him in bubble wrap, cold storage and call it a year. Make sure his cheques show up on time and wait for the compliance buyout period this summer and cut all ties.

The NHLPA is expected to ratify the new CBA on Saturday and camps are set to open Sunday. The Rangers don’t have a ton of time to figure this out, but you can guess what the most likely option will be.

  1. mikebel11 - Jan 10, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    Option #2 has to take in consideration the fact that you can retain salary now. There may be a team willing to take on Redden for 3.5 million leaving the rangers with 3 million on their books. Probably the best option for both sides.

    • ThatGuy - Jan 10, 2013 at 11:03 AM

      Just going to say this. I would imagine you could find a team willing to take him at 3.25 million. He is worth that. Your going to end up paying him for this season and 2/3 of his next season anyways. Be cheaper to trade him and retain half the salary. Maybe even get a pick/prospect out of that deal.

      • soj83 - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:19 PM

        i won’t say a trade is out of the question, but the teams that more room to take him might go an even cheaper route if they need a d-man. there are about 10 UFA d-men out there still, and a team like phx or nyi possibly would rather pay 1 mil for campoli or randy jones than 3.25 on redden. who knows though, there may be a package deal or a team may see more value in redden. it’s an interesting case to watch though.

    • nykingfan - Jan 10, 2013 at 11:05 AM

      Unless the other team is getting something in return, what’s their incentive?
      I can’t see a team in the NHL that would have a need for him on their NHL roster.
      There’s no easy way out of this for the Rangers.
      Probably the best idea is to just not play him.

      • ThatGuy - Jan 10, 2013 at 11:18 AM

        You act like Redden isn’t an NHL quality defense men, which is not the case. The only thing wrong with Redden is that he isn’t the number 1 D he is paid to be. He is a perfectly solid 3 or 4 defensemen at 3.25 million if NY eats half.

  2. garryfish - Jan 10, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    Teams that have to meet the cap floor (44 M) might do a trade. Islanders???

    • soj83 - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:12 PM

      Every team is actually above the cap floor, the Islanders are the only team spending less than 44 mil, but their cap hit is 50.2. I was saying the Bruins do the same thing with Thomas before the cba, but it would have to be a good package deal for the team with space to take him.

  3. ThatGuy - Jan 10, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    I’m curious as to why they don’t just play him in NY. Is he worth the money he is getting paid, no. But if your carrying 90% of the caphit anyways, just call him up. He is better than Stralman, Sauer(who’s hurt),Eminger and Bickel. He would make the team better on a cap hit they are paying anyways.

    • Jaja.. - Jan 10, 2013 at 11:36 AM

      +1

      Just give him a top 6 spot and let him play this way other teams will know more about him. He’s not getting better from playing in the AHL.

      • jericoc - Jan 11, 2013 at 9:54 AM

        His not playing has little to do with his relative position on the squad, and just about everything to do with the wishes of his coach, who apparently invented hockey …

      • Jaja.. - Jan 11, 2013 at 1:05 PM

        I thought it had everything to do with a player being hugely overpaid and playing like a 3rd line defenseman.
        This year they have cap space so they can use him again.

  4. nykingfan - Jan 10, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    ThatGuy,

    He’s not a 1-6 NHL defenseman. If he was, he would have been on the Rangers post season roster. They went with basically 4-5 D’men and got burned by it. They were completely gassed by the time the Devils eliminated them.
    The fact that they had more confidence dressing Bickel and Woywitka over Redden tells you all you need to know about his value.

    • ThatGuy - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:19 PM

      Tell me exactly how they take on his 6.5 million cap hit last year with only 1.9 million dollars in cap space?(http://www.capgeek.com/rangers/archive/) I would love to know how that would work.

      Not only that, but with the uncertainty with the CBA, someone could have picked him up on re-entry waivers sticking the Rangers with half his salary cap and no player, which also would have put them over the cap. Which is why the last couple years, they have sent him down and left him(no one is going to take the whole 6.5 million on waivers).

      The difference this year, is that they are stuck with 90% of the caphit regardless of if he is in Hartford, Mothballed or playing in the NHL.

      Their best option is to trade him and keep half the cap hit(saving about two million against the cap and 3 million payroll) or play him in the NHL because he is better than those players and they are paying him and accounting for his cap regardless.

      • jtrain1966 - Jan 12, 2013 at 10:54 AM

        I don’t see why they don’t just try him out on the Rangers, that’s unless ; The coaching staff, & management has a HARD ON for making his life a living hell ! There are 2 reasons for trying this & they’re : 1) He comes up & surprises them, & actually plays real good, then they could get more out of him . 2) If it doesn’t work out, then they could just send him back down, & or sit him out the rest of the year . Whatever they want to do, they’re still stuck with the cap hit & you would think they would like to maximize a potential deal involving him . Either way it’s a win, win situation !

    • DED - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:22 PM

      But if they called him up, wouldn’t his salary have counted against the cap? Maybe Sather was guilty of putting $ before experience (and summarily got burned by it by the Devils).

      • ThatGuy - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:23 PM

        It would, as my post above explains, it was not possible.

      • DED - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:23 PM

        Whoops. Should’ve reloaded before replying. ThatGuy had my answer.

  5. timmmah10 - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    If I’m the Rangers, I Mothball and Buy him out next year.

    If I’m Wade, I would immediately file a grievence with the PA when this happens.

    Trading him for a bag of pucks is the optimal choice for both, however doubtful any team takes that deal without the Rangers paying 3.25 and eating a poison pill of a draft pick or prospect.

    There’s no situation that seems reasonable, and since the Rangers hold the decision point, I see them “moth balling” him.

  6. scionofflame - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    You have to feel bad for a guy like Redden. Sure he’s not great, but it’s not his fault he got saddled with a bad contract.

    Now all anyone can say about Wade Redden is “Trade him, buy him out, or don’t let him play at all”. For a guy that probably wants to continue being a professional hockey player, I imagine all the talk must make him feel like garbage.

    • jtrain1966 - Jan 10, 2013 at 6:54 PM

      Or, maybe it’s the type of talk that gets him going, or revitilizes his career . Only time will tell . With that being said : I would like to see the Blues trade for him . Of course NYR, would have to be willing to eat half of the remainder of the deal . My reasoning is, they’re still looking for someone to play with Pietrangelo, & at 3 to 3.5 million cap hit, i couldn’t be any worse than having spent 4.25 to 4.5 million on a waste of space D-MAN Eric Brewer ! Yes, i’m still PI$$ed OFF at the Laurie’s for trading Pronger .

  7. dprouse - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:54 PM

    Here’s what I don’t understand about the fear of injury – if in fact he gets hurt, you can put him on LTIR, as the Flyers are doing with Pronger. Unless something changed, there is no cap hit for players on LTIR. Maybe I’m missing something, but this fear that somehow Redden gets hurt, and remains on the Rangers’ cap, doesn’t make any sense to me.

    • soj83 - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:06 PM

      I see your point, but if he was to play and get hurt and get listed as injured during the buy out period and be medically cleared to play a few weeks into the season, then they wouldn’t be able to buy him out until the next off season, and they would theoretically be over the cap. If he had a major injury like Pronger or Savard or Laperierre have had, then LTIR works. If it is something more like Hall had this last season, then they are in trouble. I know you weren’t suggesting just putting him on LTIR, but I’m sure they could get in trouble (circumventing the cap) if they list a healthy player on LTIR if it is just a broken arm or something.

      I hope he doesn’t get injured, but the Rangers have a big decision on him this year.

  8. mmazzzzzz - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:08 PM

    Redden is better than Stralman?
    I don’t think so.

    • ThatGuy - Jan 10, 2013 at 7:04 PM

      Even if Stralman is better(debateable), point remains that he is better than 2-3 D men on the team and would be an improvement.

  9. h0ckeycoach - Jan 10, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    Park him. He’s going to cost a little less than 3 million this year to stay home. Then buy him out next year. Don’t risk injuries either in the NHL or AHL, because as mentioned in this article you cannot buy out a player who is injured. Do the same with Gomez in Montreal.

  10. bigpetemiller - Jan 11, 2013 at 8:07 AM

    Best option for the Rangers at this point is to shelve him, buy him out this summer. If they play him (ANYWHERE) and he’s injured, they are in the same boat no matter. If the trade him and he gets injured, they would still be responsible for part of his salary and cannot buy him out, same circumstances as above. I could be wrong there or here, NOBODY is gonna take him. I agree he still is a solid 3-4 defenseman on just about any team but not worth that kind of money at that level. Wade signed the contract and played at a certain level, both his responsibilities. He put himself in this position but; here’s the catch, making 6.5 mil. this year. How many of us can sit around and do that? Wade will be just fine…

  11. istallion - Jan 11, 2013 at 8:28 PM

    Call up Montreal.

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