If anyone knows Glen Sather, inquiring about big-name free agents is his cliche. The 70-year-old has made notable offers to other very known free agent centers over the years, and his latest target seems to be Colorado Avalanche star Paul Stastny. But is the 28-year-old really the answer for the New York Rangers?
Stastny would definitely fill a need for the Rangers right away. He’s been a top six player since his rookie year in 2006 and has made players around him better. New York is in dire need of solid depth at center, and having him and Derek Stepan would fill that hole immediately. During the 2013-14 NHL regular season, Stastny tallied up 60 points (25 goals, 35 assists) and helped the Avalanche receive the top seed in the Western Conference.
The only legit problem with Stastny is the money scenario. As we all know, Brad Richards was bought out not too long ago, freeing up $6.67 million in cap space. Since Stastny is an unrestricted free agent, the Rangers wouldn’t have to give up any compensation picks if they signed him. But with that said, Stastny wants seven years worth around $7 million a year. Essentially, you’d be giving him the same contract Richards was bought out of. Stepan is making $3 million a year, and he only had three less points than Stastny this year. That contract would also pin the Rangers cap-wise since they have 12 free agents to possibly re-sign.
This is only one of Sather’s problems entering this free agency. Signing Stastny would fill a huge need for New York, but it could also lose you some fan favorites and cap space for the long run. If the Rangers are in win-now mode (and it appears that way), maybe the contract isn’t as bad. But keep in mind you can’t keep buying out bad contracts forever and not have it bite you back in the end.