Playing Gorton: Signing the RFA’s

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 06: (L-R) Jeff Gorton, Jim Schoenfled, and Glen Sather of the New York Rangers watch a practice session on an off day during the 2014 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs at Staples Center on June 6, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Rangers have several question marks going into the offseason. Many have speculated as to who the possible trade candidates will be. Although there will undoubtedly be some sort of a shakeup this summer, let’s first speculate what deals the restricted free agents might ink over the next few months.

First up is Chris Kreider. CK is coming off of a 21 goal, 43 point campaign in 2016, fairly stable from his prior year production of 21/46. Kreider was sitting on a 2 year, $2.475M/yr contract. For some comparable deals recently signed, we see below:

  • Nick Bjugstad: 24g/43pts and signed a 6 year $4.1M/yr going into 2015
  • Anders Lee: 25g/41pts and signed a 4 year $3.8M/yr going into 2015
  • Brendan Gallagher: 24g/47pts and signed a 6 year $3.8M/yr going into 2015

Based on these names, I suspect Kreider will ink a deal of about 4-5 years for $4M- $4.5M per year.

Next is Kevin Hayes, who is coming off of a $900K per year contract (plus incentives). Hayes regressed a bit on the stat sheet last year, posting 14 goals and 36 points after previously tallying 17 goals and 45 points in an identical amount of games. Below are some recent comparables to benchmark against:

  • Mika Zibanejad: 20g/46pts and signed a 2 yr $2.6M/year going into 2015
  • Andrew Shaw: 20g/39pts and sighed a 2 yr $2M/ year going into 2014
  • Nick Bonino: 22g/49pts and signed a 3 yr $1.9M/year going into 2015

I think it is safe to say Hayes should be offered a 2-3 year deal for around $2M per year, and no more than $2.2M per.

In the 2016 season, J.T. Miller nearly doubled his prior year’s production with 22 goals and 43 points after dressing in all 82 contests. The 23-year old will likely look to leverage this as a bargaining chip in negotiation talks, deservedly so. Miller produced at a similar clip to Kreider in ‘15-‘16. However, this was Miller’s first full year at the NHL level and his salary should not demand the same pay-out as #20. Instead, we will likely look at a deal similar to:

  • Cam Atkinson: 22g/40pts and signed a 3 yr $3.5M/year going into 2015
  • Tyler Toffoli: 23g/49pts and signed a 2 yr $3.3M/year going into 2015
  • Jonathan Huberdeau: 15g/54pts and signed a 2 yr $3.3M/year going into 2015

Look for Miller to pen his name on a 3 year deal for about $3.25 million this summer.

Lastly, Dylan McIlrath, who dressed in 34 games with the Rangers this season. Rath is a more difficult person to compare, being that it is tough to gauge how the coaching staff values his play. He certainly showed signs of promise, especially after being viewed as a potential bust since being drafted 10th overall in 2010. I see McIlrath receiving a deal of no greater value than Shayne Gostisbehere’s contract for about 2-3 years and $925K per year.

Thoughts, ideas? Please share in the comments section below.


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