Larry Brooks at the New York Post takes a look at the possible contracts the Rangers RFAs might receive this summer…
Ryan McDonagh (4 or 5 years between $4.5M & $5M per)
Derek Stepan (same term for a bottom line $4M per)
Carl Hagelin (shorter term between $1.75M & $2.5M per)
Mats Zuccarello (2 years at approximately $1.5M)
Brooks adds that if the Rangers don't buyout Brad Richards, their available $13.5 million of cap space will likely be used on these four players and the team will essentially be the same as last season.
…do the Rangers need to upgrade their lineup? Sure. But to be honest, if they go into camp in September with a similar line-up as last season, I won't be all that upset. Despite no training camp (which is essential for a Torts led team), a God awful season from Richards, a season ending injury for Staal, one of the worst power plays in the NHL, Callahan and Hagelin playing with separated shoulders, Kreider not living up to expectations, and Clowe basically missing the entire playoffs, the Rangers were still able to get to the second round and lose to a Bruins team that ended up embarrassing the Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals and are currently giving the Blackhawks everything they've got.
…if Tortorella really was the problem then this line-up, under Vigneault, should be good enough to contend for a Cup.
…as far as the four guys above, I'm in agreement with most of the numbers Brooks is throwing out there. I'd probably like to see Stepan and McD's dollar amounts a little lower. And with Clowe's value plummeting due to injury, hopefully if the Rangers are able to sign these four on the lower end of Brooks' scale they'd be able to re-sign him on the cheap.
Brooks also reports that the Rangers are unlikely to extend a qualifying offer in order to keep the rights to RFA Michael Sauer (concussion).
…i can't imagine that Sauer will be receiving offers from any organization
if when he hits the open market on July 5th. Very sad.
Two weeks ago, the Rangers flew Sauer to New York for evaluations. The results of those evaluations were not released.