As the Jack Eichel Saga descends into scorched earth territory, with the center’s agents releasing a statement calling out the Buffalo organization while general manager Kevyn Adams attempts to...
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As the Jack Eichel Saga descends into scorched earth territory, with the center’s agents releasing a statement calling out the Buffalo organization while general manager Kevyn Adams attempts to pretend leverage is on his side, it occurs that the Sabres could come out of this whole if they are willing to retain 50 percent of the center’s cap hit in a trade.
Because if Eichel is only going to count at $5 million against the cap the remaining five years of his contract, then the Rangers would be in position to extend Mika Zibanejad in the $9 million range and present a powerhouse one-two punch down the middle for the foreseeable future.
There would still be a squeeze figuring that between $15 million and $16 million would have to be set aside for Igor Shesterkin and Adam Fox, but the Rangers should be able to maneuver through it.
And if general manager Chris Drury is confident he will be able to reach such an agreement with Zibanejad, that’s when he and the Rangers would have license to include Kaapo Kakko as the blue-chip centerpiece of an offer for Eichel, which might include either Filip Chytil or Vitaly Kravtsov, as well as Zac Jones or Matt Robertson or a first-rounder.
Our latest information is that Vegas, though strenuously cap-strapped, remains serious about making a deal for Eichel. Indeed, even while adding a net $3.3 million to the cap in acquiring Evgenii Dadonov from the Senators in exchange for Nick Holden, Golden Knights GM Kelly McCrimmon may have been preparing to send multiple assets the other way.
But if the Rangers offer Kakko, two years removed from being not only the consensus second-overall pick in the draft, but also the unanimously rated top-two player on the board, that could be the clincher. Indeed, it should be the clincher.
If Kakko-plus isn’t enough to seal the deal, then Drury can walk away from the fakir Adams without looking back.
If there were a reason for the Blueshirts to extend Ryan Reaves’ over-35 contract for another year through 2022-23 at $1.75 million other than to entice No. 75 to accept their trade for him and to report to New York, it utterly escapes me.
We can probably look forward to Colin Campbell “warning” the Rangers before the season opener in Washington, am I right?
So now we know there is a Columbus-tax attached to the price the Blue Jackets must pay in order to keep their prime athletes in town the way there has been one for decades in Edmonton, that existed on the Island BLL (Before Lou Lamoriello) and also pertains to New Jersey.
That’s the lesson to take away from the six-year extension, worth an annual cap hit of $9,583,333, 24-year-old defenseman Zach Werenski agreed to this week.
That number is out of whack league-wide, though probably not so much after the Blackhawks gave Seth Jones an eight-year extension worth an average of $9.5 million per, but it wasn’t the Jackets’ job to weigh how Werenski’s contract would impact future arbitration cases and Group II contracts.
It was critical for the franchise’s credibility not to allow another headline act to flee. If it took a few shekels more, if that were the tax, then the Jackets were obligated to pay it.
There’s the tax in Columbus and there is no-tax Tampa Bay, which attracts veteran free agents simply by waving a wand, with Corey Perry and Zach Bogosian the latest to make the pilgrimage.
The Lightning deserve an immense amount of credit for constructing this double-dipping Stanley Cup championship team, which is poised to make a legit run at becoming the first team to three-peat since the Islanders nearly four decades ago.
It is a first-class, well-run operation that has done a brilliant job identifying talent and adding difference-makers (through the draft and via trades) who were not necessarily headline talents with marquee names. The team is expertly coached, as well.
And with the free agent tote board ringing up $952,221,625 in contract commitments through Friday, per CapFriendly, perhaps it is too late to issue the reminder that neither of the Lightning’s repeat championship teams included a big-time free-agent signing.
But, in the telling of all the organization’s attributes, it is intellectually dishonest not to cite the lack of state tax as an advantage Lightning ownership and management have been able to exploit in constructing the team.
Now the Maple Leafs are trying to convince folks that they are equipped to win the Cup with a Petr Mrazek-Jack Campbell tandem in nets?
Or are they trying to convince themselves?
Free-agent day malpractice by Joe Sakic and his group in Colorado, which couldn’t or wouldn’t come up with the $5.91 million per that incumbent goaltender Philipp Grubauer received on six-year free agent agreement with Seattle, and consequently were forced to sacrifice highly regarded prospect Conor Timmins, a first-rounder and a conditional third to acquire Darcy Kuemper from Arizona to fill the vacancy in nets.
What, $22.5 million over five years wouldn’t have been enough to entice middle-sixer Brandon Saad to sign with St. Louis, so the Blues had to toss in a full no-trade clause to get the 28-year-old winger to sign on the dotted line?
Linus Ullmark, the 28-year-netminder who fled Buffalo to sign a four-year free agent deal at an AAV of $5 million per with the Bruins, is a good one, but it sure feels as if Tuukka Rask’s absence in Boston is going to make the heart grow fonder for the Finn.
In recognition of Reaves (No. 75), ranking the Rangers with numbers in the seventies on their backs: 1. Phil Esposito (77); 2. Brady Skjei (76); 3. K’Andre Miller (79); 4. Michael Rupp (71); 5. Filip Chytil (72). Honorable Mention: Mackenzie Skapski (70); Mention: Tony DeAngelo (77).
Finally, it appears the Islanders are about to announce the Parise deal … the one in which J.P. Parise came to the team from the North Stars in exchange for Ernie Hicke and Doug Rombough, that is.
This story originally appeared on: NyPost - Author:Larry Brooks