So it’s becoming more and more likely that Sundin will sign with the Rangers by tomorrow, that is assuming the Rangers can clear up enough Cap space to fit him.
Right now, the Rangers have approximately 1.3-million dollars in cap space, and the Sundin camp has hinted that he will consider taking a discount for his favorite team, which will at least be somewhere in the neighborhood of 5+ million dollars. So where can New York trim within their roster to create a 5+ million cap space, plus some extra room prepared for injuries. Most GM would agree that you should at least have 0.6-million space reserved, just in case. So assuming Sundin is willing to sign at 5.4M, the team will need to clear up 4.7M cap space.
Not an easy task in today’s NHL.
It’s however very interesting that in an article from Globe and Mail, the writer suggests that “The Rangers want Mats to annuonce that they are the team so that the talks with the Canucks can progress. Otherwise, the Canucks hold all the cards.”
It’s interesting because it implies that the Rangers are openly saying that the Canucks are their best or maybe only choice when it comes to pulling a trade to land Sundin in the Big Apple. But why?? Yes, everyone knows that the Canucks are interested in bringing in a first-line forward. Gillis is not going to do anything until he gets a confirmed “NO” from Mats.
So this means that a trade offer may have been suggested to the Canucks already, but Gillis’ answer is he will wait for Sundin. Of course, by not trading with the Rangers, the Rangers cannot sign Sundin. And the Canucks won’t do any favors for the Rangers, since they themselves want to sign him. But are the Canucks really their only choice when it comes to off-loading salary???
I don’t think so. Teams like the Islanders, Leafs, Thrashers, Coyotes, Predators and Kings have higher cap-space than the Canucks. And since every GM knows how desperate Sather is these days, so if a deal is going to happen it will be a great deal for which ever team involved in the trade. So who wouldn’t be interested??
But let’s just say Sundin decides that he will play in New York, and tells “Thanks, but no thanks” to Gillis. Now the Rangers have to decide where to find that extra 4.7-million. Who should they part with?
If, according to Globe and Mail, the Canucks really do have all the cards, that for some reason, the Rangers have to trade with the Canucks in order to sign Sundin. Their choices will be limited. Out of the rumored candidates:
Wade Redden, Michael Rozsival, Scott Gomez, Chris Drury and Markus Naslund,
Only Drury makes the perfect sense.
Markus Naslund is not really a choice, not just because he just left Vancouver via free agency, and there’s absolutely no way Gillis will trade back his former client when he could have signed him for free, but also for the fact that he only has a 4-million cap hit, which is not enough, under my calculation.
Trading away Redden and Rozsival makes no sense for the Rangers and the Canucks. Vancouver, when injury free, has one of the best defensive corp in the league, and they won’t be interested to trade for a defenseman, unless it’s a three-way-trade with another team. The Rangers won’t want to trade them as well, since they are having an excellent season, and signing Sundin is supposed to be that final step towards the cup. What good does it do if you add another centerman, but lose one of your top two defenseman??
So it just leaves with Gomez and Drury. If you think about it, it actually makes good sense to trade one of them away, since with Sundin on board, he should be the 1st line centerman, this will leave either Gomez or Drury playing 3rd line. A 7-million dollar third line center??? I don’t think so. Unless the Rangers decide to play Gomez or Drury on the wing, one of them must go.
Gomez is 28, and has 22 points in 28 games, on par to a 60+ points season. Drury, 31, has 17 points in 33 games, on par to a 42 points season. Number-wise, Drury is looking to have one of his worst season in his entire NHL career. Did I mention he makes 7.1-million this season, and then 8.05M in 09-10, 8M in 10-11, 5M in 11-12??
Drury has an average of 7.05M cap hit, and with his performance this season, not a lot of teams will be interested at all. So I think if the Canucks are to trade for Drury, it may costs something like this:
And with Pyatt going the other way, it’s purely an offset move for the cap. But if the Rangers can even get someone like Pyatt in return for Drury at his price-tag, I think Sather will be very happy. It’s a definite win for the Rangers (Signing Sundin, off-loading an underperformed 7-million player, and getting a workhorse in Pyatt), but do you think it’s a win for the Canucks??? Hard to say.