Update, 7:17 p.m.:
Informed source reports that Rangers have NOT inquired about impending UFA Stastny. Don’t have the cap space to be bidder in auction. #NYR
— Larry Brooks (@NYP_Brooksie) June 25, 2014
…they have the cap space, they just wouldn’t be able to re-sign any of their free agents.
The buyout of Brad Richards has opened up some much needed cap space for the Rangers and Glen Sather…someone hold me.
If the Rangers plan is to bring back all their free agents, than the almost $24 million of cap space is already virtually spent, but this is Glen Sather we’re talking about, so everything is on the table.
With the new interview period for unrestricted free agents beginning today at noon, Sather has already dipped his big toe in the water by reaching out to coveted Avalanche UFA center Paul Statsty.
Stastny has indicated he wants to stay in Colorado but will explore other offers (NHL.com)…
“Paul has been open about the fact he wants to stay in Denver,” Stastny’s agent Matt Keator said. “We will keep talking with [Joe Sakic] throughout the process and give them every chance to retain Paul. We will meet next week and see where things go.”
Sather also seems to be developing a back-up plan in the event Anton Stralman bolts for greener pastures as he’s apparently among a number of GMs interested in Islanders UFA defenseman Dan Boyle.
…while the 28-year old Stastny fills the Rangers need for a #1 center iceman, his likely $7.5 – $8 million per asking price (his prior contract was $6.6M per) all but guarantees Brian Boyle, Stralman, Pouliot and maybe a few other free agents aren’t coming back.
…as far as a fit, beyond his 60 point season last year, Stastny’s two-way game blends perfectly into Vigneault’s puck possession offensive scheme. Last season, Stastny had a Corsi Rel (how high his puck possession compares to the rest of his team) of +4.2% on a team at the bottom of the league in Corsi percentage (shots attempts for vs. against). We all witnessed how badly the Rangers centers were exposed against the Kings, so the addition of Stastny would be a welcome upgrade.
…during his breakup day interview, Alain Vigneault mentioned building the Rangers similar to the Kings by replacing expensive, older free agents with younger, cheaper prospects. A bold move to bring in Stastny initiates that strategy as guys like Miller, Lindberg, Haggerty, Fast, Allen and McIlrath will be relied on to play huge roles for the Rangers next season. Unfortunately, that might mean some growing pains along with a step back this season, but the Rangers could end up being the better team for it come 2015-16.
…if the Rangers get Stastny, I have no idea how they’re going to fit Dan Boyle under the cap, as the 37-year old defenseman is reportedly looking for a two-year deal, with most expecting it being in the $5 million per range. If the Rangers swing and miss on Stastny, while Stralman signs elsewhere, Boyle, who has been long connected to the Rangers, could be an interesting option. He’d immediately upgrade the Rangers power play (18 power play points last season) and his possession numbers remain strong (53% Corsi last year) despite being in his twilight years. The right hander’s presence would also give the Rangers the luxury of not rushing either Allen or McIlrath to the NHL before they’re ready.