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Report: Rangers offer Stralman about $4M, will let Falk walk

Jun 21, 2014, 6:35 PM EDT

Anton Stralman AP

Depth was a big reason why the New York Rangers made it to the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, but with a slew of free agents – both restricted and unrestricted – it could be a challenge to maintain that strength.

The New York Post’s Larry Brooks took an in-depth look at that situation, indicating that Brad Richards‘ buyout will be used to retain current players rather than making a typically splashy Rangers acquisition.

While he focused first on Rangers forwards, there are some key details about their defense.

For one thing, Brooks reports that the Rangers are dangling a three or four-year deal worth about $4 million per season to Anton Stralman (pictured). Some likely look at that as a fine offer for the unrestricted free agent, yet the advanced stats community labels him as a “secret star.” It should be interesting to see if the 27-year-old draws much more interest than that offer would suggest if he does hit unrestricted free agency, especially since the market is pretty dry.

The Rangers hope to keep Stralman in the fold, but it sounds like Justin Falk played his last game for the team. Brooks reports that they’ll pass on qualifying the 25-year-old at a $1.025 million clip, allowing him to become a UFA.

Ultimately, Brooks believes that Richards’ $6.67 million will funnel into the pockets of the breakthrough line of two RFA’s (Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello) plus one UFA (Benoit Pouliot):

Brassard probably goes from $3.2 million to at least $4.5 million per on a multi-year deal, if not closer to $5 million. Zuccarello, perhaps the biggest bargain in the league in leading the Rangers in scoring (19-40-59) while earning $1.15 million, probably is going to command at least $4 million per on a long-term deal, and maybe $4.5 million. And Pouliot, who rescued his career working for $1.3 million, likely is going to get at least $2.5 million.

Cap Geek estimates that the Rangers will have $23.78 million in cap space this summer, yet with an unclear cap ceiling that might be a little lower, it’s likely safer to call it approximately $23 million. Let’s consider what Brassard, Zuccarello, Pouliot and Stralman would cost combined based on Brooks’ numbers:

Brassard: $4.5 – $5 million
Zuccarello: $4 million
Pouliot: $2.5 million
Stralman: $4 – $4.5 million
Range for Rangers: $15 – $16 million

The Rangers also need to re-sign Chris Kreider and John Moore (both RFAs) while making decisions on the likes of Brian Boyle and Dominic Moore (both UFAs), so Brooks is probably accurate in saying that the Rangers will spend most/all of their excess cash on keeping the band together.

Naturally, Stralman could end up pricing himself out of Sather’s budget and guys like Boyle could fetch a ransom on the market, so this situation could change. Sather’s also known for being a tough negotiator with restricted free agents, so perhaps Brassard and Zuccarello wouldn’t be so expensive.

Every now and then, a team rides some contract year hot streaks to unexpected success, making for some tough organizational decisions. It’s only tougher to assess some of these players considering Alain Vigneault’s very different philosophy compared to John Tortorella. However this situation shakes out, it should be almost as entertaining to watch as the Rangers were during their impressive playoff run.

  1. bleedrangerblue - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:16 PM

    You wanted stability, now sign. Glad to have you.

  2. bleedrangerblue - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:19 PM

    Hags zuc brass we need them

  3. bleedrangerblue - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:23 PM

    Pouliot too minus the penalties

  4. billiam55 - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:04 PM

    lets not have wat happened during the 2012 offseason when we lost depth.

  5. nyrfan - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:22 PM

    Hagelin is signed through next year. Sather will use every advantage he has with the RFA’s. Honestly, Brassard should just accept his QO. He was great for most of this year but he’s a 3rd Centerman. You can’t pay Brassard 2mil more than Stepan, the top Centerman currently. Unless Sather finds value in a trade for a top Center. Stepan would make a better 2nd line Center at this point in his career.
    What I find interesting is the Rangers trying to retain Strahlman but Staal made it known he wants a new deal done this summer. A year before he becomes a UFA. I think Sather trades Staal either for a 1st round pick or a prospect just to clear his cap hit off the books. The Rangers also have close to 4mil in bonuses they can offer to certain players. 35+ and RFA’s can get signing or performance bonuses Cap free.

  6. bleedrangerblue - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:09 PM

    What makes you think a Staal deal is not coming? He played well enough prob better than girardi after his contract.

  7. stakex - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:48 PM

    I have a feeling the Rangers summer isn’t going to be nearly as simple as Brooks suggest. The reality of it is that the Rangers won’t win a Cup with Stepan and Brassard at the top of their center depth chart. We saw in the final round that the Rangers really struggled up the middle against LA, and making no changes in that area just seems unacceptable.

    How exactly a change is made really depends. The Rangers could pass on re-signing Brassard ($5 million would be very excessive IMO, so perhaps not a bad idea), and instead target a true 1st line center via trade or free agency. They could sign Brassard, but instead acquire a top center by trading Stepan. He does need a new deal next year, and despite solid numbers has never really looked the part of top line center like the Rangers have hoped he would. Less likely, but still possible, is that the Rangers could opt to trade Rick Nash. They might not be able to get a top line center for him, but freeing up his cap space would certainly make it possible.

    There are some other ways to make it work as well. Even going by Brook’s estimates, which I think are a bit high, it would take the Rangers about $19 million to re-sign everyone they need to (Zucca, Stralman, Brassard, Pouliot, J Moore, and Kreider). That leaves between $4-5 million depending on the cap. If they do keep Stralman and J Moore, I think Klein will probably be traded. There are much cheaper options for a 3rd pair defensemen out there, and moving him could free up as much as $2 million…. giving the Rangers $5-7 million to add a top line center.

    • desertfan - Jun 22, 2014 at 6:05 AM

      Kesler to NY for Nash and a great prospect.

      keeler wants to be a #1 centre and would be here

    • arrow43050 - Jun 22, 2014 at 9:10 PM

      If they sign Strahlman then Stepan, Staal and a 2nd Rounder for Spezza and a 1st

  8. windsor9101 - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:55 PM

    Spezza! Then the others negotiating can stay or go.

  9. imacmanla77 - Jun 22, 2014 at 8:20 AM

    Too bad they wasted all that money on Girardi. He cost them a ral chamce at the cup, and has been a game-losing turniver artist for two years. But LA will love to see him if the Rangers make the finals again. For every good play he makes after getting braten, he gives up a breakaway or two. He is worth 3.5-4 and getting iover 5. Strahlman is better and will probably leave for less money than girardi is making. Bad decsision.

    • imacmanla77 - Jun 22, 2014 at 8:22 AM

      And i hate typing onan iphone

  10. storminator16 - Jun 22, 2014 at 9:11 AM

    Its time to do a PXP nightmare: put Justin Faulk and Justin Falk together on the same team.

  11. 950003cups - Jun 22, 2014 at 9:42 AM

    Girardi was pretty brutal. But I doubt Anton Stralman is better.

  12. bleedrangerblue - Jun 22, 2014 at 2:56 PM

    Look at NJ’s defense…

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