What is the Rangers future of Jesper Fast

As the New York Rangers season progresses the future continues to unfold, and as the deadline approaches there is an underlying conflict on the horizon. The debate rages on, on behalf of retaining Chris Kreider. Ryan Strome, who by many accounts can only play hockey because of Artemi Panarin, has also been subject to debate. Lest we forget the flamboyant right handed defenseman Tony DeAngelo. All major topics of conversation, still not the subject of this article.

No the subject of this article is about Jesper Fast. I mentioned before that a Fast trade only makes sense if the return is an overpay. Well after some thinking I am recanting this opinion. Jesper will be a UFA in 2021.

Cost Control

Jesper Fast (Bruce Bennett-Getty Images)

First and foremost the Rangers being aggressive this offseason was a smart move that creates a bit of a problem. The big splash moves will handcuff the team for this upcoming off-season. Therefore, in order for the team to either, create cap space or extend a player they HAVE to fit the future; Chris Kreider does not.

Chris Kreider is a fast, talented, power forward that will likely sign his last contract this summer. Let’s say that Kreider is looking for less than Kevin Hayes was (unlikely) and say he ask for $6.75 for seven years. Or four years for $8 million. The cap crunch will then effect the tenure of Adam Fox, Filip Chytil, Libor Hajek, and not to mention Kaapo Kakko. Kreider does not fit the future of the club due to his right to cash out one last time.

Kreider’s career can be most comparable to the aforementioned Kevin Hayes, Evander Kane or Anders Lee. I created a comparison chart between the four players, as well as included two power forwards that have received new deals (Wayne Simmons and Tom Wilson).

As you can see, Kreider is a better player than Anders Lee who just signed a seven year for seven million dollar deal. His points per game is only behind Evander Kane, who signed a seven by seven deal two years ago. It is also tied with Kevin Hayes who signed a seven year deal for $7.14 million. As a matter of fact, Kreider (strictly going by points per game) would have received a lower contract than Kyle Okposo had he hit UFA in 2016. Obviously Kreider is a better player than Okposo today, but statistically he’d be considered a lesser player had they hit the market at the same time.

The long winded, backed with stats, not just opinion based, paragraph above goes to show that Kreider is too expensive to fit the future of the team.

Quick Fix

While one UFA is better off bringing future assets to the franchise. Number 17 is not that player.

Fast is a two-way forward that has a knack for locking up the neutral zone. Fast is arguably the team’s best penalty killer (likely second behind Mika Zibanejad). He is able to play up and down the line up. Most importantly the team, coaches, front office and fanbase all appreciate Fast.

Comparing Fast to other team version of Fast. I found that players like Oscar Sundqvist, Erik Haula, Adam Lowry and Colton Sissons. Fast is better player than Sundqvist and Lowry statistically and is very close to Haula and Sissons.

Haula’s three year $8.25 million contract (AAV $2.75M) and Sissons seven year $20 million contract ($2.8M). Are roughly exactly what Fast and the Rangers should look to extend. If the cap doesn’t go up, the Rangers will have $15.6M in cap space. This will need to be used to sign Tony DeAngelo, Brendan Lemieux and potentially Ryan Strome and Alexander Georgiev (unlikely). If Fast is to stay these are the types of deals he would get on the market and would help make the future cap situations be manageable for the big names that will need deals two and three years after.

Jesper Fast has a more prominent role in the rebuild than fans want to give credit. Retaining a cost effective forward to help lock up the bottom six, as well as be a glue guy in the locker room? Seems like a no brainer.

Dear Rangers, Heavens to Betsy re-sign Fast and give me a dang Wallpaper of him already!

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