Starting last night at midnight, teams could begin speaking with free agents—though they cannot be signed until Friday afternoon.
I just had this thought that could scare the hell out of you. The Rangers don’t believe it would or could happen, and honestly neither can I believe it.
But what if some GM with the guts of a burglar and loads of cap space takes a look at the Rangers’ cap situation, with the non-buyout of Brad Richards’ contract leaving them with barely enough money to re-sign their own restricted free agents, and sees them as vulnerable?
What if that GM doesn’t care about poking the bear, doesn’t care at all, and gives a gigantic offer sheet to Ryan McDonagh?
The Rangers surely would match up to $6M per year somehow, even if they might have to get rid of players they’d like to keep. But what if the one GM decides to go to $7M per, or more? Decides to go to a point where the Rangers can’t match because they decided to keep Richards?
Because once Thursday evening arrives, the Rangers can’t buy out Richards until next spring, and once he is officially kept, the Rangers just might be vulnerable to an offer sheet for McDonagh. They are already up against the cap to a degree where they probably can’t re-sign Ryane Clowe, if they were so inclined despite his health concerns, or any other significant free agents on Friday. GM Glen Sather has never been in this kind of position before.
It would take incredible, um, nerves for a rival GM to make such an offer. It would tick off the entire NHL fraternity, and the contract would have to be pretty gigantic; as good as he is, McDonagh would have to be, let’s face it, very much overpaid.
Plus the wrath of the Rangers next year, when they do have cap space, might not be something that GM is willing to suffer. The Rangers could surely strike back in the future.
And they’d get a ton of compensation for McDonagh signing elsewhere.
As I said, I doubt very much it could happen, and so do the Rangers.
But what if …?
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