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Rangers offseason filled with questions

Jun 14, 2014, 1:55 PM EDT

Brad Richards AP

The New York Rangers’ loss in five games of the Stanley Cup Final is disappointing for the fans. Seeing the team make it as far as they did is a point of pride, as is how they handled themselves against the Los Angeles Kings.

The bar is set to exceed what they did this season next year and to do that the Rangers and GM Glen Sather have some hard decisions to make.

According to CapGeek.com, the Rangers have nearly $54 million committed to the salary cap next season to 13 players. That means they have to fill out their roster on a nearly $17 million budget to fill 10 spots. That also likely means Brad Richards‘ future in New York is highly in doubt.

The Rangers have one remaining compliance buyout and it would be shocking if they don’t use it on Richards. The talk of him being bought out has been going since last summer. It came up again during the playoffs and his $6.67 million cap hit over the next six seasons coupled with his poor playoff production makes him a prime, and likely, candidate to give the Rangers lots of breathing room under the cap.

Richards is still a good player, he’s just not nearly $7 million per season against the cap good at this point.

That added space would be huge as the Rangers have five restricted free agents to re-sign and three of them are big ones. Chris Kreider, Derick Brassard, and Mats Zuccarello were all key forwards in the regular season and playoffs and will be looking for a raise.

Toss in unrestricted free agent forwards Benoit Pouliot, Brian Boyle, Dominic Moore, and defenseman Anton Stralman (who will undoubtedly get a big offer) and it’s looking as though the Rangers will have a much different look if they’re going to make a run at the Cup next season.

  1. billiam55 - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:03 PM

    Answer is simple.

    Buy out Richards and use that money to sign everyone.

  2. habs9 - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:08 PM

    Zuccarello leading the team in points in the season is gonna seriously hurt their pockets

  3. runhigh24 - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:12 PM

    Penguins should sign Dominic Moore just so he stops eliminating them in the playoffs. Its only the 3rd time that’s happenend.

    • ericjbaker - Jun 14, 2014 at 7:40 PM

      He’ll probably score an own-goal in game 7 overtime.

  4. thefutureofoil - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:15 PM

    As a Kings fan, I can say we will be happy to take Boyle off your hands. Gritty, gritty player excellent in the face offs. Kind of player you need to win championships.

    • smarshall3789 - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:55 PM

      I’m not a rangers fan but I doubt they let Boyle go he’s to valuable to that team. To be honest it would be a shock if they let him go.

    • cybernetikghost - Jun 14, 2014 at 4:32 PM

      As a Kings fan, you should remember that Boyle has sparks of greatness but needs to throw the body more. I would bring back Matt Moulson before Boyle.

      • nyr4life9920nyr - Jun 16, 2014 at 12:22 AM

        how could the rangers bring back matt moulson, he’s not even on the team. Did you see him in the finals? This is an instance of another la bandwagon fan who ddoessn’t have a clue

      • xaile94 - Jun 16, 2014 at 2:01 PM

        Moulson and Boyle were both dealt by the King and became better players elsewhere. That was the “bring back” point of reference.

      • xaile94 - Jun 16, 2014 at 2:07 PM

        Kings (not Henrik).

    • justinpecora50 - Jun 16, 2014 at 9:24 PM

      Boyle’s not going anywhere. I do believe Pouliot and or Moore could be gone.

  5. rushledger - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:49 PM

    I agree with the Dominic Moore idea as a pens fan. Trade Nash he’s been useless, Columbus cut their losses with Ganorik and he did well elsewhere , NYR can still fetch a solid return for him somewhere and move on.

    • smarshall3789 - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:58 PM

      The problem with trading Nash is his big contract and cap hit. Only a few teams would be interested in him. If he does come available if hope my Wings get him he’s what we need a scoring winger with a big body!

      • nyr4life9920nyr - Jun 16, 2014 at 12:24 AM

        Oh he will be available, got anything good to give up in addition to a no1 draft pick?!!!!!!!!!!. Please make an offer!!!!!!

  6. jcuervo962002 - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:56 PM

    Personally, I hope they buy out Richards. I hope they trade the invisible man nash if he still has any value. Sign stralman if he isnt asking for more than 5 million, sign boyle, moore, kreider, brass, and zuke. Use the leftovers to fill the gaps left by nash and richards, with more reliable rugged type of wingers. NY’s bottom depth is very good, they lost because their top guys didnt perform like it,again, and they need to move on. and please, get someone who can just fire the puck from the point on the PP.

  7. jason9696 - Jun 14, 2014 at 3:15 PM

    I didn’t think Nash was all that bad. He played his heart out in the Finals. And would have scored the OT winner last night if Voynov didn’t block it with his stick. That was going into the middle of the net. I’d definitely buy out Richards though.

    • justinpecora50 - Jun 16, 2014 at 9:27 PM

      Nash actually played very well on the defensive side, HOWEVER, they didn’t bring him in to play defensive.

  8. jake1199 - Jun 14, 2014 at 3:22 PM

    Need to sign all the free agents and buyout Richards! Nash needs to go but his contract is terrible and salary is horrendous so looks like the team is stuck with him

  9. stakex - Jun 14, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    Well the obvious change next year is that Brad Richards will not be a New York Ranger. His fate was sealed long before his vanishing act in the playoffs, but that just made it an even easier decision. That will give the Rangers about $23 million in cap space to re-sign everyone and re-tool a bit, which should be plenty to re-sign most of the key pieces. The only real question mark is can the Rangers keep Stralman? Do to his good play in the playoffs, his open market value is likely sky high right now…. and if he wants to test free agency, he’ll no doubt make more money than the Rangers are willing to offer.

    What I really wonder is how Sather plans to address the Rangers scoring issues. The last couple years it was blamed on Tort’s coaching style, and many believed that if the Rangers current roster was unleashed it would score up a storm. Well, it was unleashed this year and fizzled, especially when it needed to score the most. In crunch time, the Rangers still needed to rely on Torts style defensive play to defend one goal leads because they struggled to find consistent goal scoring to put games away. Its obviously a roster problem, and it needs to be fixed.

    One thing I think should get serious consideration is trading Rick Nash. I know it wouldn’t be easy to do with his contract, and he’s not going to fetch a huge return…. but the freed up cap space would be invaluable. Of course the Rangers would then need to try and acquire some goal scoring talent through free agency, which is no guarantee. Still, I think they could do without paying $7.8 million for 3 goals in 25 playoff games.

  10. erbaker67 - Jun 14, 2014 at 3:54 PM

    What free agents do you bring in to replace Nash because it’s not likely that the return you get from trading Nash is not going to be a point a game player, maybe a draft pick and a project prospect due to his salary. Rick Nash is not the elite goal scorer that he used to be but he has changed his game to be better all around. He was solid defensively in the Olympics and in the playoffs. The chances were there. I just don’t see who they can bring in that would replace his production regardless of points in the playoffs, the guy is still a great player.

  11. chaseutley - Jun 14, 2014 at 4:09 PM

    “how they handled themselves against the Los Angeles Kings.”

    They blew leads and suffered OT defeats in 3 games. They were shut out on home ice and got one pity win so that the Kings could clinch in LA.

    A source of pride?

  12. cybernetikghost - Jun 14, 2014 at 4:36 PM

    From what I’ve read in comments on other articles, this team should stay in tact. They weren’t the ones that lost the games, it was the refs.

  13. cheggy1731 - Jun 14, 2014 at 4:50 PM

    Don’t use the refs as an excuse. Kings beat my Blackhawks so kudos to the Kings! Enjoy the celebrating, it’s a short summer. Hawks will be back next year .. you’ll see!

  14. gettingpwned - Jun 14, 2014 at 6:45 PM

    Populist was one of their best players in the playoffs too. Their offseason is going to sting.

  15. emmaabby - Jun 14, 2014 at 8:49 PM

    Give me break!! It’s always the darn refs that caused the Rangers to lose, what a joke! it was the Kings who got the penalty in ot 2. Quick didn’t stop any thing, the refs did! The king didn’t give up that rebound, the refs did. Can’t you guys just celebrate a great run by your Rangers and stop all the crying!!!!

    • stakex - Jun 15, 2014 at 2:13 AM

      Don’t be such an over dramatic d-bag. I’m sure if the same thing happened to whatever team you root for, you would be up in arms and whining about it as well. Hell, you’re whining right now about fans of another team being rightfully upset about multiple terrible calls…. I can’t imagine how mad you would be if the shoe was on the other foot.

      The bottom line is that the entire hockey world, with the exception of most Kings and Devils fans, all agree that the Rangers were burned by the refs on three really bad calls that lead directly to Kings goals. That’s not suppose to happen in the finals, where the best refs are working the games…. and its almost impossible to overcome in such a tight series against a good team. Do the Rangers win those games if the calls are correct? Who knows…… and that’s what’s so frustrating.

      • jimeejohnson - Jun 15, 2014 at 10:23 AM

        The Rangers did not have what it takes to beat the Kings. They were lucky to win one game. However, the Rangers are the second best hockey club in the world; better than all the other NHL teams except one. Congratulations to the NY Rangers on a fantastic season.

      • rsiddiqu - Jun 15, 2014 at 4:26 PM

        I wouldn’t say the rangers didn’t have a chance. If they had some bounces in the first and second game and the 4th game it could of gone either way. two games went to double ot and 1 went to ot. You can’t just write that they were clearly better because they weren’t. If they were way better they would of finished them off in reg time and even if they went to ot they would of beaten them in that.

  16. blomfeld - Jun 14, 2014 at 11:10 PM

    NOTHING PERSONAL

    As an ardent, sexy and values-driven supporter of the Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings since 1973, I tip my hat to the Rangers for their gallant effort and determined enterprise. Theirs is a team of ‘excellence’ and so I hope that they can take this loss with pride and ‘sobriety’ in terms of the days ahead regarding possible personnel changes. Unlike Ovechkin or Luongo, I’ve never had anything against these people and therefore I wish them ‘well’ in going forward. God speed friends … comrade Blomfeld

    • jimeejohnson - Jun 15, 2014 at 10:21 AM

      Makin’ a toasted peanut butter and banana sandwich just for you!

  17. homerx - Jun 15, 2014 at 6:47 AM

    The only goal scorer I know that is on the market is Spezza but I really haven’t been paying to much attention to the market during the playoffs. The Rags have a lot of key players to sign. And regardless of the outcome the NHL needs to fix the refereeing. This is not the first year it has been the subject of controversy. The reason for going to 2 refs was to eliminate this nonsense.

    Nash played well outside of scoring but that’s not what he’s paid for. you could get a player that played like Nash for a fraction of his salary in the open market. What forwards that you know of are paid $8MM+ for their defensive prowess and play away from the puck?

  18. rangerfan4ever - Jun 15, 2014 at 8:57 AM

    I agree with much of what’s been said here, and am proud of our team (each and every one) for their effort and for getting as far as we did. In the end, the Cup winners were a bit better than us and no amount of Hank heroics were enough to overcome that. We sure as hell showed that we can play with the best of the west though, and had we the ability to score even one more goal a few times (our biggest need to address), we’d be on the other end of this, of course. It was a good year all-in-all, and AV and the coaching staff were super and we’re lucky to have them …and implementing a new system and going THIS far in 1st year is awesome! Congrats! – We have plenty to look forward to, IMO, and enough $ to make the few moves necessary. Certainly Brad is going to be bought out. It’s a no-brainer despite his better play this year. That, in addition to the cap rising, will allow us to re-sign each R and URFA we want to. Raises are in order for each too, and the only Q is whether or not to sign Strallman? I like him a lot (said many times I thought he was one of our best d-man this year) and would like to have him on the team for years, but in a cap league and with a solid reliable D-corp and with at least 2 or 3 blue-chip young d-men in our system ready to step up to the majors (Connor Allen, Mclwrath, Shjei?) we may be able to get away with NOT resigning Strallzy – or better yet signing him then trading him along with Nash for a high draft pick or 2 and a highly regarded prospect or 2 as well. Doable? possibly! What do u all think? If we buy out Brad and are able to trade Nash, give decent raises to all or nearly all our guys up for renewal, we should have the $ to sign that one top scorer we need! Even if it’s only ONE extra guy but one who can be relied on to score more often than our current “top” guys, we would be in a far better position next year.

  19. rupp246 - Jun 15, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    I know everyone is getting on Nash, but other than putting the puck in the net, he played very well. Unfortunately, he is paid to score so sather has a tough decision to make. I believe he is going to stay. Richards foot is already out the door.

  20. nashernation - Jun 15, 2014 at 2:01 PM

    There’s no way the Blue Shirts are moving Nasher’s contract. He’s paid to score big goals and it just didn’t happen this year. He appears to be in the decline but maybe he can have a bounce back year next year. Strahlman and Boyle are gone most likely. Sather may have some moves in his bag of tricks. Great year and look forward to another great season at the garden next year. Section 227 was a pleasure this year!

  21. goalie007 - Jun 15, 2014 at 2:41 PM

    Buy out Richards and trade Nash, ASAP. Both are utterly useless.

  22. rupp246 - Jun 15, 2014 at 5:08 PM

    Rangerfan4ever ,,,,, well said, you should be a gm

  23. rangerfan4ever - Jun 15, 2014 at 5:42 PM

    Thanks a lot, rupp. I’d love to change current job in a NY minute! Where do i go to get the GM position? I would accept an Assistant spot even. lol I’M READY BUT THINK U COULD DO IT TOO.

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