Photo credit: Amy Irvin (38Photography)
As GM of the Flyers, it’s Ron Hextall’s duty to improve the Flyers by any legal means necessary. Luckily, that includes preying upon cap situations of other teams. Currently, the New York Rangers would make a prime target for a group of offersheets to multiple players at the same time which would lessen the likelihood of the Rangers being able to keep all three.
Per CapFriendly, the Rangers have eight forwards signed for next season, and thanks to many recent trades, the Rangers have a rather thin prospect pool. As such, risking a ton of money on some players will either ruin their cap situation or net the Flyers a decent player.
The Rangers currently have 4 RFAs to sign in JT Miller, Emerson Etem, Jesper Fast and Derek Stepan. The Flyers would be wise to attempt to poach Stepan and one or two other players in an attempt to force the Rangers cap situation out of control.
Per the RFA compensation chart:
Average annual value CompensationLess than $1,205,377 Nothing$1,205,377-to-$1,826,328 Third-round pick$1,826,328-to-$3,652,659 Second-round pick$3,652,659-to-$5,478,986 First and third-round picks$5,478,986-to-$7,305,316 First, second and third-round picks$7,305,316-to-$9,131,645 Two firsts, a second and third-round picks$9,131,645 or greater Four first-round picks
These are the compensation owed for any poached RFA. Here are the three targets.
Via Own the Puck
Derek Stepan is easily ready to be a solid 2C or 1C in this league. His skill set is highly similar to Sam Gagner, but bringing him in would allow the Flyers to package both Schenns and the rights to Michael Del Zotto in an attempt to acquire a true top pair defender. If the Blues make Kevin Shattenkirk available or the Kings have to drop money and make Jake Muzzin available, the Flyers can use these players to get a deal done.
Offer Derek Stepan 4 years at an AAV of 5.4M which results in the dropping of a first and third round pick.
Via Own the Puck
Up next is JT Miller who would be a replacement for RJ Umberger in the middle 6. Miller’s play is quite good at possession driving and unlike Umberger, he’s younger, faster and 4 seasons away from UFA. Because of that, offer-sheet him for 4 years at an AAV of 3.6M at the cost of a second round pick. This would take Miller right to UFA, which benefits him on his next contact. The Flyers could instantly trade Michael Del Zotto for a 2nd round pick as any offersheet he signs would likely have the same cost.
Via Own the Puck
Emerson Etem is a young possession driving player who has a ton of room to grow. In Etem’s case, he’s unlikely to sign a multi year offer-sheet. If JT Miller doesn’t sign the 4 year offer-sheet, give the same deal to Etem and see if he takes it.
For the third offersheet: offer a 1.2M AAV for 2 years to Jesper Fast who is a solid 4th line player. This would force Ryan White out, but more importantly makes the Rangers match or lose a player for nothing.
If the Rangers matched all 3 offer-sheets with a total 10.2M AAV, they’d be down to 6ooK in capspace, and still in need a few other players. This might cause them be forced to retaining money on a Dan Boyle trade or waiving Tanner Glass to the AHL just to make the cap. Either way, the cap penalties of a Retained Salary Trade or bury penalty on a player would likely preclude the Rangers from making serious moves at the trade deadline to improve the team.
For the Flyers acquiring these players would allow them to move out other surplus players for picks or in a package for a top pair defender. Either way, for the Flyers, it’s win-win. The Flyers currently have 4,5M in cap space per CapFriendly, which means dropping the Schenns (combined AAV of 6.1) and Vinny Lecavalier and RJ Umberger (another 4.5 and 4.6) to give them the room needed to make this work.
To make Umberger go away, the Flyers could either hope that his health from season ending hip surgery doesn’t recover and they place him on LTIR at the start of the season or the Flyers could hope Lecavalier mutually agrees to terminate his contract after collecting his bonus from July 1. Or if a team in need of the floor such as Anaheim tosses a 7th round pick, they can have one of these contracts.
Ideally the Flyers move Lecavalier to Anaheim for a 7th round pick with no retained cash. Umberger ends up on LTIR. And the Schenns, rights to Michael Del Zotto, Scott Laughton and Andrew MacDonald get sent to Winnipeg for Dustin Byfuglien.
Assuming no retained salary on any of these deals, the Flyers would have enough money to make this work. And, if it fails, well, don’t make the secondary trades and head into next season with the lineup the team has now.