According to Bruce Garrioch, the Rangers are one of the teams showing interest in soon to be unrestricted free agent Anton Volchenkov. Volchenkov has been a hot topic so far this offseason, after turning down a reported five-year $20 million deal after the Olympics from the Senators, ensuring that the highly sought after defenseman will hit the open market. Volchenkov has been linked to the Washington Capitals, but those rumors have been refuted.
Let’s play a game of which defenseman would you take.
Player A: 6′1, 226 lbs. 28 years old, 7 year veteran. Physical, shot blocker, stay at home defenseman. Averages 15 points per season, GVT of 4.7 (4.2 DGVT). Averages 65 GP/season. Will command at least $5 million/season for five years.
Player B: 6′1, 210 lbs. 28 years old, 6 year veteran. Physical, shot blocker, stay at home defenseman with a little offense. Averages 22 points per season, GVT of 4.3 (5.1 DGVT). Played a full 82 games for four of six seasons. Will command roughly $500,000-$1 million less than Player A for one or two fewer seasons.
Which defenseman do you want?
I think we can agree that Player B brings more value for the dollar, which is what the salary cap era is all about. If you said Player A, you said Anton Volchenkov. If you said Player B, you said Zbynek Michalek. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, when looking for bang for your buck, Zbynek Michalek makes more sense than Anton Volchenkov. They have the same style of play, Michalek contributes more on the blue line, and is much more durable. The slight difference in GVT is negligible, but it’s worth noting that again Michalek has the better defensive GVT.
So the Rangers can be interested in Anton Volchenkov all they want, but they will not have the cap room for him. On the other hand, Michalek should certainly be an intriguing option, and worth more than just a kicking of the tires. Of course, Dan Girardi is an even cheaper option with almost identical numbers (6.8 GVT, 5.0 DGVT), but he isn’t as physical as the other two. Girardi, of course, will cost significantly less than both Michalek and Volchenkov.