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Larry Brooks' Slapshots column discuses buying out Goodrow & Miller/Necas

June 16, 2024, 4:46 PM ET [483 Comments]
Jan Levine
New York Rangers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
As the Rangers continue their offseason evaluation and prepare for 2024-25 and beyond, Larry Brooks' Slapshots column covers one of the key offseason questions. In addition, he added in a throw away comment which is mildly intriguing. The two names mentioned in the column are amongst those that will be brought up until the draft, free agency and start of the season.

First, Happy Father's Day to all, including to my dad in heaven. This is my first without him here. He is the one who made me a sports fan, so I thought it only fitting to post a new blog today in his honor. Love you dad.

Key carve outs from the column:
The Rangers need more size and speed. They need to open salary-cap space. The Rangers benefitted from Barclay Goodrow’s presence in going to the conference final in two of three seasons on Broadway, but now, in the cold light of 14 days away from elimination, it is time to move on from the forward, who will turn 32 at the end of February.

The NHL buyout period, under which the Rangers would actually gain a cap credit of $247,222 for this season, runs from 48 hours after the Cup Final ends until June 30. Drury should not rush for a buyout that would ding the Blueshirts with a cap penalty of $3.502M in 2026-27. Instead, the GM should seek to move Goodrow in a trade that could materialize at the June 28-29 entry draft.

Goodrow should have value on the market with his deal now having just three years to go. Surely he has more value as a mentor to Connor Bedard than Corey Perry ever did in Chicago. Utah — nee Arizona — may need help in getting to the cap floor and always needs help in veteran character. The Sharks and Ducks are in need of veteran leadership.

There is, however, no way I am adding a sweetener to the deal or retaining salary/space. Sorry, not going to do it, and neither can Drury. The Rangers have already sacrificed their second-rounder in each of the next three drafts, their third-rounder the next two drafts and their fourth-rounder in 2025 and 2026. There are limits on the number of contract retentions a team can hold at any time, so retaining on Goodrow might have an impact on future hypothetical moves. Retention and sweeteners are off the table.

If the Blueshirts cannot make a hockey trade, a buyout would be in order — with the dead-cap charge ranging from $1.111M to that one-time hit of $3.502M over the next six seasons. I’d rather deal with that than adding a draft pick to move Goodrow’s contract the way the team had to do with Patrick Nemeth.

A Goodrow buyout would leave the Rangers with approximately $15.549M of cap space entering July 1 on a shadow roster that includes nine forwards, four defensemen and two goaltenders but does not include impending restricted free agents Ryan Lindgren and Braden Schneider, or bubble forwards Matt Rempe, Adam Edstrom and Jonny Brodzinski.

Look, Goodrow was one of the team's best playoff performers. He stepped up his game while others saw theirs go backwards. But, as Brooks notes in his column, even with that, his 5x5 time on ice was minimal by comparison in the last three games of the Panthers' series. In addition, he is best suited on the fourth line, despite Goodrow being tried on the third line with little success.

If the cap had risen consistently the last few seasons, carrying a $3.641 million salary for a fourth-line player would still be egregious but not paralyzing. Despite a significant rise from last year to this season's cap number, the lack of available space for New York coupled with the need to re-sign several key players and leave room in free agency makes retaining Goodrow even more challenging. It's why despite his playoff performance, clearing as much of that cap hit, freeing up space for others, is likely the direction in which New York will and should go.

As Brooks also noted, attaching a sweetener through use of a draft pick to move him is a non-starter. The Rangers dealt several picks to both get out of bad contracts while GM Chris Drury dealt picks to try and make a run the last few seasons. Because of that, the cupboard is partially empty, meaning that Drury either needs to deal a second tier prospect as part of a trade, take on a meh contract or bite the bullet and deal with another buyout, as distasteful as that might be.

In a perfect world, I would keep Goodrow. I know the advanced metrics stink, but he has value on the penalty kill, and as we saw, is a needed commodity who can raise his game in the postseason. But we live in a cap world where space is at a premium and freeing up room unfortunately forces difficult decisions. A team with multiple mid-round picks could be an option in return for Goodrow.

I say no, but would the Canes say no to a one-for-one if the Blueshirts were to offer K’Andre Miller straight up for impending restricted free agent right wing Martin Necas?

For this one, I am curious as to what others think. A primary person I want to weigh in is Bingo, as I know his view of Necas but not sure how he rates Miller. On this blog, I would say public sentiment is very down on Miller seeing his struggles as the playoffs continued augmenting his issues during the season.

The overall talent is most certainly there. Unlocking that, which would necessitate better positional play, increased awareness on the ice and more physical play, has proven to be challenging. We thought that had started down the stretch in 2022 and in the playoffs, but he regressed last year.

This year, he made strides, despite his pairing with Jacob Trouba dragging him down. When he skated with Braden Schneider, Miller looked to be set to take his game to the next level, but the same issues as we have seen in the past arose. He is in the final year of his deal making $3.872 million and will be a restricted free agent after the 2025-26 season.

Necas is a scorer. But his defense and defensive awareness leave a lot to be desired. Add in his expectation to make north of $7 mil a season on a long-term deal and it's clear why Carolina might look to move him.

The question is two-fold?1) Is his offensive ability good enough that you can ignore his defensive shortcomings? 2) Is he worth that salary due to his offensive capabilities? Even if the answer to both is yes, can you afford the hole created in the defense by the departure of Miller? In addition, if let’s say perchance Jacob Trouba is dealt or bought out, you are replacing a third of your blue line (and yes, I know some would be happy with this). If this type of deal happened, re-signing Ryan Lindgren becomes even more of a must.

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