The Rangers have four key restricted free agents (RFAs) that they’re going to have to make decisions on including Chris Kreider, Mats Zuccarello, Derrick Brassard and John Moore.
To begin the process of signing these RFAs the Rangers must extend a one-year qualifying offer to each player before the deadline of 5pm on Monday, June 30th. Extending a qualifying offer ensures that a team retains negotiating rights to that player. If the Rangers don’t submit a qualifying offer to a RFA, that player will become an unrestricted free agent (UFA).
A new wrinkle to free agency this season under the new CBA is that clubs and agents are now able to discuss general parameters of a potential contract with another team’s pending restricted and unrestricted free agent before free agency opens on July 1st. From a NHL memo sent to every team…
“Please be advised that clubs are permitted to discuss the potential interest in as well as general parameters of a potential future contractual relationship with another club’s pending RFA or UFA during the applicable interview periods. The clubs may not enter any agreements or make any binding offers, promises, … oral or written concerning the terms of a potential SPC (standard players contract) with another club’s pending RFA or UFA.”
The UFA interview period is from June 25-30, while for RFAs it’s from June 26-30.
Here are the qualifying offers the Rangers must submit to their four RFAs…
Chris Kreider – $850,500
Mats Zuccarello – $1,550,000
Derrick Brassard – $3,700,000
John Moore – $850,500
Players who earned less than $660,000 in the previous season must receive a qualifying offer of 110 percent of last season’s salary. Players making up to $1 million must be offered 105 percent. Players making over $1 million must be offered 100 percent. I used Cap Geek’s Qualifying Offer Calculator to determine the above numbers.
All qualifying offers expire at 5pm on July 15th. If a player accepts a qualifying offer, he then signs a one year contract with his current team under the terms of the offer. If a player rejects a qualifying offer they remain an RFA and either continue to negotiate a new contract, file for arbitration or discuss a possible offer sheet with another team.
The deadline for a player to file for salary arbitration is 5pm on July 5th, while the deadline for a team to file is 5pm on July 6th. The team and player can continue to negotiate even after arbitration is filed. John Moore is not arbitration eligible.
A player who has filed for salary arbitration with his original team cannot sign an offer sheet from another team.
The deadline for other teams to submit an offer sheet to one of the Rangers RFAs is 5pm on July 5th. Should a Rangers player sign an offer sheet with another team, the organization is notified and can no longer negotiate a new contract or trade the player rights to another team. The Rangers would have 7 days to make a decision whether to match the offer sheet, or decline and receive draft pick compensation from the team making the offer sheet.
…obviously there is no way any of the Rangers RFAs will accept those qualifying offers as they’re all likely looking for long term deals at higher money.
…Brassard is the only one who might end up with a lower cap hit if he wants more years. He shouldn’t be getting almost $4 million for four years.
…real interested to see how the Kreider contract negotiations play out. The Rangers love the two-bridge deals (just ask Stepan), but they may want to give him the McDonagh six-year deal to buyout two of his UFA seasons.