Well, it appears (through various sources) that Nikolai Zherdev has been awarded $3.9M by an arbitrator. With the Rangers having offered a reported $3.25M and the Zherdev camp reportedly asking $4.5M, how does this impact the Blueshirts?
Many have speculated that the team would walk away from anything over $3.5M, but I can't see it. Zherdev is a better option than anything remaining on the open market right now, and even though his salary addition would create logistical problems in terms of re-signing RFA center Brandon Dubinsky, I can't see Sather walking away from this deal.
Dubinsky is likely to command around $3M himself, although I could see that number dipping to around $2.5M if he accepts a one-year contract. According to NHLNUMBERS.COM, as of right now the Rangers have about $8.9M left in cap space. That doesn't take into account contracts for Enver Lisin and Tyler Arnason (who will likely toil in Hartford for most of the season, barring injuries to the big team's roster). So, we'll say about $6M in total cap space remaining.
With a shortfall of NHL-calibre defencemen, we can assume that Corey Potter, Bobby Sanguinetty and either Ryan McDonaugh or Michael Sauer will be promoted into the main squad, leaving roughly $4M in total cap space available.
Does this seem like a rather large amount to anyone else?
Okay, so we whittle it down a bit further with the assumption that one or both of Evgeni Grachev and Artem Anisimov will crack the big team's roster this season, and we're looking at about $2M in cap space. Now we're getting a bit thin on money…
So, how do we keep both Zherdev and Dubinsky, without losing anyone from the current roster (and possibly taking a last-ditch stab at keeping Blair Betts)?
I'm looking directly at the speculated move of burying Redden's fiasco of a contract in the minors. Sure, that would make our defence corps even less experienced than it already is, but it would provide enough cap space to not only pull off the requisite moves that are presently on the table, but also go out and find a plug to fill the spot Redden was wasting last season. His contract might dictate he would be the highest paid player in the AHL, but realistically, after last season's performance, he should consider himself lucky to even play at that level.
What are your thoughts on the Zherdev award? What should the Rangers do? Post your opinions in the comments section!
About the Author
Written by Dan Rakusan
A huge Rangers (NHL), Falcons (NFL), PGA Tour and soccer fan, I have been writing semi-professionally for about 7 years now. I try to impart information with some degree of humour, and always have an opinion. PSB is another feather in my cap, and am really proud of the team assembled here, and look forward to the long-term journey PSB is embarking on in terms of establishing itself as the best sports blogging collective on the net! Look for articles such as 4-Play, Rangers blogs and PGA Tour updates, along with my NFL handicapping service!