NHL Morning Rumor Mill – August 28, 2013.

Updates on Derek Stepan and Ilya Bryzgalov, plus a look at the Rangers options if Henrik Lundqvist doesn’t re-sign with them next summer.

NY Rangers would find few worthy options next summer to replace Henrik Lundqvist.

NY Rangers would find few worthy options next summer to replace Henrik Lundqvist.

NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Joe Yerdon examines the NY Rangers options if they fail to re-sign goaltender Henrik Lundqvist next summer, listing Jonas Hiller, Ryan Miller, Corey Crawford and Jaroslav Halak among next summer’s potential free agents. Yerdon noted Lundqvist doesn’t see himself leaving the Rangers and isn’t thinking about free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers will open the vault to keep Lundqvist, potentially making him the highest-paid goaltender in the NHL. If he wins the Vezina, he’ll definitely become the highest-paid. I believe Rangers management could wait until June to determine how much the salary cap will rise next season before making a serious pitch to Lundqvist.

NORTHJERSEY.COM/NEWSDAY:  NY Rangers RFA center Derek Stepan remains patient in his contract negotiations, staying hopeful he’ll re-sign before training camp opens in two weeks. Newsday’s Steve Zipay suggests Stepan “deserves” a long-term extension worth $4 million, but the Rangers (due to limited cap space) are offering him a two-year bridge contract for an undisclosed amount. Stepan wouldn’t get into the details as to what could be holding up his re-signing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stepan doesn’t sound as though he’s thinking of staging a holdout. Though Stepan has earned a significant raise above the $875K  per season on his ELC, the Rangers only have $2.1 million in cap space and cannot afford to pay him $4 million per season. He could be forced to settle for a two-year deal at $1.8 million per.

YAHOO! SPORTS’s Dmitry Chesnokov recently reported via Twitter “CSKA GM Sergei Fedorov says the door is open at his club for Ilya Bryzgalov, who is still looking for a team.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The KHL could be Bryzgalov’s only option, as there appears no interest in his services around the NHL.


  1. I would love to see some offer sheets this summer. Players like Stepan or Kadri. Nothing major not 8 years deals but rather 2years 5M a year. I know both teams will match but teams will have to make some significant moves to get under the cap and that will weaken both clubs. imo

    For instance a team like NYI, Buffalo, Florida and Phoenix Coyotes going after Stepan or Kardi.

    • I do like the concept of offer sheets, though the mechanism its needs some work. there’s no reason for its tabo status, offer sheets force GMs to lose a bit of leverage w/ their RFAs and would reduce pro players being stuffed in the system. most of all, it would induce action, specifically trading.

      • Agreed. No idea why it’s such bad form to use an offer sheet – isn’t it just business?

        • I find it funny that some people who mention the use of offer sheets are the same that whine and complain about escalating salaries for RFAs, if it wasnt for offer sheets GMs would be able to scale back on some of the stupidest deals given out, which elevates not just what the player is going to be paid on his second contract but what players are going to get in later years, example RoR needing to be qualified at at least 6 million just to avoid arbitration. It does not promote trading in truth it would have the opposite effect you cant trade over paid players now what leads you to believe more bad contracts would help this? ROR is at best the 3rd line center on the Avs. You think paying him as much if not more then Stasny is going to help trade him? Think about it who is an easier guy to trade just based on his contract Couturier or ROR? Webber making 12-14 million a year for the next 4 or 5 years and the almost 8 million cap hit or Doughty at the same cap hit but only 7-8 millon in salary? Remember I said based on their contracts alone over half the leagues owners couldnt afford Weber if they wanted him. Overspending does not promote trades it promotes buyouts.

          • hence the mechanism needs adjusting, as already mentioned.

          • Offer sheets are dumb and that’s the reason most GMs won’t use them. They do nothing but create tension, animosity and most of all, unwarranted escalating salaries. Offer sheets are for the hopeless fans that seem to want to see more player movement, as in teams not staying together, for the sake of being gossip girls.

          • Adjusting? How do you adjust an auction or a bidding process? If team A offers too much money and Team B either matches or loses the player what can be “adjusted”? the fact remains that players are going to be overpaid by certain teams and there are teams like Nashville that either get stuck paying way too much money to a star player and not being able to ice a decent team and losing others to free agency because of the money tied up in 1 player. Meanwhile limiting to what they would get as a return in a trade for that player by limiting the market that could afford such an asset in the future this applies to Every offersheeted player think about it no one was going to give Lowe any kind of equal return for Penner, Vanek is not easy to move ROR may go as a rental maybe but is almost destined to be UFA before his time or a huge bad contract that will be almost impossible to move 2 nd or3rd line center on most teams making 6 mill, Weber can basically go to maybe a half a dozen teams in a trade so its not going to be a huge bidding war between a dozen teams or anything, there is no adjusting overpaid contracts.

          • I think when you start asking questions like “how” is when you know you’re really starting to use your head. Judging potential value of an offer sheet based on how offer sheets are done today will result in nothing accomplished. it’s old thinking. But if you open your mind, and do just an ounce of thinking, a whole new world opens up.

            Offer sheets today do inflate salaries. They don’t have to.
            Offer sheets today do create animosity. They don’t have to.
            Offer sheets today do provide negative value. They don’t have to.

            There are pros and cons to not having offer sheets. Big con is you do end up getting hold-outs. You do get GMs abusing their power, when really what should happen is the player gets paid market value and starts training camp. GMs are lazier because offer sheets don’t really get used. These issues could vanish withouth sky-rocketing salaries, or creating animosty. It just requires more than a half-second worth of thought.

    • Most GM’s see it as under-handed. Their view is “If you want our player, come negotiate a possible deal with me”
      Better to deal with a GM than to be blacklisted for snagging someone away with an offer sheet.

      • understand this. and this doesn’t need to be the case. it forces GMs to act quicker, rather than use the lame tactic of waiting out the RFA. offer sheets can be very good for the game.

    • I don’t know how much movement there’s been with Hodgson, but I wouldn’t mind the Sabres giving an offer sheet to Stepan. He’s further along in his development and he is a leader.

    • ROn More, offer sheet a dumb? Depend on a offer sheet? If you offer sheet Dustin Penner offering 1st 2nd and 3rd plus 4M a year you are an idiot but if you offer sheet a franchise d-men and a corner stone for your future.. Like Sean Weber, how is this dumb? Or possible 1st line center 22 year old Stepan? How is this dumb?

      Please… explain..

      • sorry for spelling mistakes.

  2. I too would be interested in seeing some offer sheets. Teams like florida, buffalo, nyi are pretty much set at the centre position but there is still an elite rfa d man unsigned a lot of those teams that can afford to fit a player under the cap are in need of d men

  3. The only thing offer sheets do is drive players contracts up and hold teams & GM’s ransome

    • like I said, the mechanism of how they are today needs adjustment, but there’s no reason why that has to be the outcome. right now, stepan is a $4M player… and the only reason why he doesn’t have it is because of a)NYR don’t have that, and b)the current state of the offer sheet impeeds that.

      • I’m with you, Rob!

        And if offer sheets are so taboo, why wasn’t this taken off the table in the last CBA? While I agree the system is currently not working and it does drive prices up too high, it also prevents teams from keeping a player hostage, effectively.

        As Rob notes, Stepan is worth $4M (this is debatable, though I’d agree). But the Rangers can just say, “we don’t have the money, so no, you’re not worth that”. Which is also inaccurate. Offer sheets at least keep them honest.

        And don’t get me wrong, players are paid WAY too much, particularly as UFAs. I just want a working offer sheet system… but I still think the offer sheet idea is a good one.

        • You cant take it away the union would never go for tjat on top of reducing their share of revenue its not a big issue because they ate seldom used so why make it an issue? Players are as much a hostage as teams are later on when players dictate their ntc nmc length of their deal and the amount they want when they become ufa…”holding players hostage” is one of the most ridiculous things Ive heard on here, please it works both ways.

          • NTC is a sad attempt at having control. Ask Luongo or Miller about their NTC

          • If they wan to leave that badly they can waive them, I belive the reason they are not moving has more to do with their awful contracts more then the nmc, ask Heatly if he had any control when he didnt want to go to Edmonton or Danny B when he wanted to finish last year in Philly, to say someone is being held hostage by having to make 2 million dollars to play hockey for a year is ludicrious it works both ways.

          • Iginla had pretty good control over where he wanted to go no? Picked the wrong team but got exactly what he wanted, why not ask him of nmc are a nice perk…the arguement that because a guy is rfa he can be held hostage is dumb, its not like they are asian children sewing up levis in some condemned building. They have it just as good as the teams they play for do in later years when they become ufa.

          • Sundin when he wouldnt waive for the Leafs….nmc are sad attempts lol give your head a shake

    • Agreed Kevin

    • Maybe, but maybe it ALSO gives an opportunity to give fair market value. Is Stepan 5M a year player or is it Brad Richards?

      • Because you are only driving up the price on your own RFAs in the future when their agents are looking at comparables

        • GMs are lazy because of the lack of offer sheets. The best thing offer sheets do is keep GMs honest. Most offer sheets get matched… which that in itself speaks volumes.

        • Do not use all RFA’s certain RFAs.. Sure why not!!!

          Certain RFA’s deserve it imho. That is why the option is there.

          Please save your BS just because you are a Leafs fan and I mentioned Kadri. Leafs have every right to match it.

          • Easy big fella this has nothing to do with Kadri it has to do with people that whine and complain about salaries and bad contracts then a week later say I wish someone would use an offer sheet that gets me. Imo most GMs dont use offer sheers for a reason, for 1 it drives up cost, the only way an offer sheet isnt matched is if its an overpayment and sometimes its even matched then so whats the point? and if you look around at the GMs that have used offer sheets in the past they arent the most shining examples of brilliant GMs.

          • who was whining and complaining about salaries? i don’t recall seeing that one.

  4. Offer sheets leave a sour taste across the NHL. It raises salaries but any GM that is bold enough to make an offer is a social outcast. Kevin Lowe found that out the hard way with Vanek and Penner. He lost two ways: He over paid for Penner and nobody wanted to do business with him afterwards. Remember Brian Burke claimed that offer sheets are a sign a of a desperate GM trying to save his team and his job. As long as the GM does not over pay offer sheets can work. NYR has no cap space and are lo balling Stepan. This is a great example of a need for an offer sheet. Everybody including the NYR know he deserves around 4 million but nobody wants the headaches associated with an offer sheet. Somebody needs to be smart but force NYR , TOR and STL to make a decision before preseason starts.

    • I believe the contract just signed by Henrique sets the bar – would it be possible for Buffalo to trade Hodgson to the Rangers for Stepan? I would think something like that wouldn’t leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth.

    • Oldmanhockey, that something or someone to “force” those teams into doing something is called time. Fans should realize that hockey teams work on their schedule and not ours.

    • Raised prices isn’t necessarily bad accross the board. If BUF offer sheeted Stepan for $3.5M.. that would “raise” the salary, but Stepan would still be .5-1M below market value. What good offer sheets do mainly, is keep GMs honest, and removes the leverage they have to bully RFAs.

      ie… it means more work, which means more action.. all at the same while ensure fair prices.

      it’s the abuse of offer sheets that are bad. Scott Stevens and Brendan Shannon offer sheets were very good. Dustin Penner, not so. Sergie Federov, very good.

      They do raise salaries, sure.. but only because they were set ridiculously lwo to begin with. UFA market, in my opinion, inflates salaries worse.

  5. All good points from both sides of the arguement. I don’t think it matters what kind of changes are made to the offer sheet system, the big majority of GM’s will still consider it bad form. I believe that was one of the main reasons Kevin Lowe was removed from the GM position, very few teams would even talk to him after his offers. I think the offer sheet overall isn’t a bad thing but due to the present circumstances with the cap going down no gm is going to take the risk of becoming blackballed. Do guys like Stepan deserve the money they should get? Absolutely, but maybe signing a one year deal and biting the bullet will substantially raise there bargaining power next year when the cap should go up.

    • Agreed. Another comparable for these young centres is Sean couturier he just signed a 2 year bridge deal at 1.75!! He is a definite comparable managers should be using.. Also think of the money subban would have left on the table if he signed for term last year…

  6. Aki,

    While Couturier is a comparable for the young centres, we need to put some perspective on this. When we look at the Flyers depth chart according to cap geek, it says it all. Yes capgeek is great, but their depth rankings are based on salary. At the centre ice position, it puts Couterier behind Lecavalier, Giroux, Schenn and Talbot. In a projection contract he probably slots in at or after Schenn and before Talbot. For comparison sake, where would Couturier be on the Leafs depth chart at Centre? Probably a lot higher than in Philly, and he would be making more than 1.75 million. His reality is where he is at now, on the team he is on, and their current situation, that’s all. And for that reason Kadri can demand more than 1.75 because the only centre ahead of him is Tyler Bozak, who most assess as a second line centre afforded the privilege of playing on the first line, because they have not had a better option. I favour a bridge contract for Kadri and Franson, and honestly hope they play to earn a lot more in the future.

  7. As a Blues fan, I remember the most awesome offer sheet ever given. Vancouver offered David Backes a 3 yr 7.5 million offer sheet (1.5 mil, 2.5, mil, 3.5 mil) He went on to score 31, 18, and 31 goals in those three years. That is a steal by comparison to these days.

  8. I don’t see how Calgary could go wrong signing Bryzgalov short-term…i mean they have NO ONE in nets and a pretty bad team in general…couldn’t hurt to get a decent goalie (or a goalie who is capable of being good). Less money less pressure could be a good thing for both sides.