With the New York Rangers now in the middle of their offseason, rumors are starting to swirl about potential moves that the team could make. Steven Stamkos is one of the marquee players in the NHL right now, and he’s due to be an Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA) this summer, and as is with every free agent it’s been speculated whether or not the Rangers would have interest. There’s no doubt in my mind that New York will call the centerman’s camp and find out what he’ll cost, but the fact is no matter what the price is, Stamkos doesn’t seem like a realistic option on Broadway.
Let’s assume that Stamkos gets around $10 million per season (which is what players like Anze Kopitar, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews just got on their deals.) For the Rangers to even make a realistic bid for Stamkos they’d need to move out a ton of cap space, most likely Rick Nash and his $7.8 million dollar hit, and probably Marc Staal or Dan Girardi as they both make over $5.5 million per season.
Now the Rangers are currently thought to be shopping Nash to make room for RFA’s like Kevin Hayes, Chris Kreider and J.T. Miller. This would keep their young talent and allow them to remain competitive; but if the team does dump Nash to make space wouldn’t it be going backward to add another behemoth contract that handcuffs you? Stamkos is a fabulous player, but one player doesn’t win a Stanley Cup and the Rangers will have spots to fill this summer.
Stamkos is a big time number one center, and while it would help to have a player of his caliber the Rangers aren’t desperate at the position. Would he help? Of course, he’s amazingly talented and a better scorer than Dereck Stepan and Derick Brassard, but the position in general, is an area where the Rangers have some depth with Hayes, Miller, and Oscar Lindberg also capable of filling out the bottom two center spots. The fact is if you add Stamkos you end up playing the game of moving centers to the wing, and we saw how that didn’t work last season with players like Hayes and Eric Staal.
How It Would Help
Let’s assume the Rangers did add Stamkos, they would be bringing in a player who posts almost a point per game, whose a major weapon on the power-play as a right-handed shot who could deliver the one-timer that the Rangers always seem to lack.
The most appealing aspect of Stamkos is his willingness to use his shot, the Rangers these past few seasons have had some issues with over passing, and the fact is that all of their key forwards except Kreider seem to have a pass first mentality. So adding a superstar who is willing to blast the puck at every chance would give New York a different look on offense.
I think the Rangers along with every other team in the league will see what Stamkos’s price will be, and I understand the appeal that fans have with a player whose instant offense, but I don’t see this as a realistic option. At the end of the season, I thought that this team needed some fresh blood, not just one player but a few, just to change up the atmosphere. If New York did jump through all of the hoops it would take to land the center then I don’t think that they’d be able to ice a reformed lineup, it would be a sketeton with a really hard slap shot.