Depending on which point of view that you have; Friday for New York Ranger fans will either be a day you enjoy or one that you will dread. The one thing that all Ranger fans is going to agree on is no matter what moves that Glen Sather makes/does not make, that they do not come back to haunt the franchise down the road.
According to CapGeek, the Rangers will start on July 1st with 31,998,333 in free cap space and 13 players under contract. The first order of business that needs to sadly addressed is adding Wade Redden's contract back on the Ranger roster.
Unless Glen Sather finds a way to remove Redden's cap hit of 6.5 million dollars then that will reduce the Rangers available cap space to 24,058,333. CapGeek also does not address what the Rangers have made in Qualifying offers to the restricted free agents like Dubinsky and Callahan.
(Updated numbers reflect 10% summer cap overage and now the QO to all RFAs Thanks Pat)
Adding in all RFAs who received QFA will cost 8971000 and leave 15.1 million to spend
Taking into account that the qualifying offers to not only the RFAs on the current Ranger roster but those of the CT Whale will leave somewhere around 10-11 million in cap space open. Yes that is plenty to sign Richards but if he gets his asking price then the Rangers will have very little flexibilty to use until training camp rolls in and the Rangers can ship off Redden's as well as a couple of others to the Whale.
It is no longer a matter of whether or not you are pro or con regarding Brad Richards but; now hoping that the bidding war for his services does not gets out of hand. Neither Glen Sather or Brian Burke like to lose on players they want which is scary.
The hope is that Glen Sather will be able to know when to say no if the bidding gets out of hand. If the bidding for Richards forces Sather to have to trade off even on one of his own players then sorry there will be no way that Richards will be worth it.
Glen Sather has to make sure that he stays within budget and not wind up with no money to pay for other players like the Devils were last year. The one thing more than anything else makes us not happy about going after Richards as they are now was the failure to lock up players before going after him.
It would have been more comforting if Sather at least locked up Sauer, Boyle, and at least Callahan prior to July 1. It is hard to believe Sather and the Rangers when they talk about the "core" when these very players are supposed to be part of said "core."
Because this is the last year before the current CBA expires there are going to be several teams looking (actually praying) that in the next CBA will bring another amnesty period to fix mistakes they have made.
Like Richards or not even the biggest supporter wanting him has to realize that seeing some of the contracts being given out for 9-10-12 years should make you nervous. Will anyone be able to accept it if Richards winds up with a 10 year contract?
Going to say this one more time just so people know it is not Richard the player that bothers us but the contract he wants. Richards says he wants the money and he wants a shot at the cup but history has taught us that a player wanting a cup will be willing to take less money.
An open challenge to Richard is take a 3 year deal at 8 million per year and if he gets the Rangers to the cup then whatever is the legal limit one can earn as a bonus. It is not an unfair challenge either as 1 cup win for the Rangers will make Richard his money whether it is salary or endorsements.
It will be a whole lot easier when Richard is 34 to pay him 8 million a year if he has produced but it is also a much better idea than see another ugly divorce as we just watched the Rangers go through with Chris Drury (age 34).
But no matter what if the Richards does choose to sign with the Rangers then if he fails then it should not be on Sather's shoulders alone. If he makes it then give Sather the rightful credit as well.
So like it or not, for now it will be finger crossing time and hope no matter which move happens that it will work out for the Rangers. It is self serving interests here as at 52, I want to see another Ranger Stanley Cup happen in my lifetime.
How To Say Thank You
June 2011 was a record breaking month for Prospect Park as thanks to all of you, Prospect Park had more visitors than ever. Thank you friend and foe for helping this place grow as it never has before.
Thank you to the new friends as well as the old ones, thank you to the folks who work media relations behind the scenes of the teams where these prospects play, thank you to the other writers mainstream and blog who encourage the work and thank you to my wife who puts up with this insane idea of covering Ranger prospects.
Thank you to those who cover prospects in the hockey world as I still say we have the best jobs in all of hockey and most of all thank you to any one who laces up a pair of skates and has the dream of becoming a New York Ranger.
They may be 16-20 years of age but every year they find a way to teach me a new lesson about life. If I had one wish it would be for every single person who comes here to come watch a CHL or NCAA game in person.
Whether it is the Beanpot in Boston, the Memorial Cup or World Juniors or a regular season CHL or NCAA game, it is as much the atmosphere as it the event that makes doing this not a job but a treasure.
Thank you for raising the bar here but more than anything else thank you for believing in tomorrow. Thank you for believing in dreams and thank you for showing these kids that you want them to make it.
(Sather courtesy of the New York Rangers)
42 minutes ago