While Sather knows it is unrealistic to re-sign everyone, since all will want pay raises, Sather made a statement to the media, sending a message to the Rangers’ impending free agents. This is not uncommon since he did this just last season to push the buttons of then restricted free agent Derek Stepan. In this statement, Sather once again called out his impending free agents by letting them know that they can either take his offer and win or leave and chase the money.
By saying this, Sather is once again letting his free agents know that he will not be pressured into overpaying for them and if negotiations are far apart then he will have no problem replacing them.
While this strategy eventually worked with Stepan, as he was forced to cave and take less money than what he wanted, he ended up holding out of training camp because of it and did not have the season many Rangers fans hoped he would have. But last year that was just one player. This season the Rangers have a number of restricted free agents, including Derick Brassard, Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider, and John Moore. Now, these restricted free agents will not have a lot of say like Stepan but they could also hold out of training camp as Stepan did. And if they all do, most likely they will also not have the years the organization and fans had hoped for.
As for the unrestricted free agents, the ball is in their court, or the puck is in the offensive zone. The unrestricted free agents like Brian Boyle, Benoit Pouliot, Dominic Moore, and Anton Stralman can take less money than other teams are offering them to stay with the Rangers and try to get back to the Stanley Cup Final this upcoming season or leave because they care more about the money.
Unfortunately for the Rangers, with the salary cap only at $69 million and all of these players wanting more money, expect more than half of the names I mentioned above to not be in a Rangers uniform this upcoming season.