[Note by Jim Schmiedeberg, 04/27/11 5:14 PM EDT Terrific writeup by the Captain here]
The Rangers don't always make smart personnel moves, but when they do, they prefer to open up cap space.
Glen Sather, you drive me absolutely up a wall on way too often an occasion, but I came upon some information today that makes you, by far, the most interesting General Manager in the World.
Did you all know that if you buy out a player who is 25 year of age or younger, the buyout cap hit is 1/3 of the remaining salary over 2 years? Glen Sather did....when he traded for Wojtek Wolski.
We all celebrated our first Rozsivus this past January 10th with a rousing party of a Blueshirt Banter Radio Show (the first appearance by yours truly) because, at face value, we saw a 32 year old defenseman (on a team heaping with young defensemen ready to play) with a cap hit of $5 million for this year and next traded away for a 24 year old forward (for a team who couldn't score in a brothel with a fistful of hundreds) with a cap hit of $3.8 Million for this year and next.
At face value, Glen, well done. But, look a little deeper and it begins to look like a true stroke of genius.
A little known tidbit in the CBA states that, unlike normal buyouts where 2/3 of the remaining contract is owed over double the remaining years, 25 and younger players who are bought out are only bought out at 1/3 the remaining contract.
What does this mean? Numbers don't lie. (Courtesy of Capgeek.com)
Buying Out Michal Roszival:
Buying out Wojtek Wolski:
Knowing this information makes the trade that that that much better. Bringing in Wolski was an absolutely zero risk move. Had he regained his prior form and started to score again, he could have been brought back for 2011-12 and the team has a useful forward, not a useless defenseman, and saves $1.2 million in cap space. But, as we know, this did not happen as planned.
If it happens the way I believe it may, and Wolski will be bought out, the Rangers will have effectively turned $5 Million in cap hit to a mere $466,667 and opened up a spot for a young defenseman (Ryan McDonagh) and then a spot for a young forward (Chris Kreider?). What could the Rangers do with this $4,533,333 in space? Well, this brings us to step 2 of Glen's evil plan: Chris Drury.
The last remaining of the failed super-contracts that hasn't been traded or demoted is none other than Captain Clutch (or Captain Crutch, depending what side of the coin you're on). Because Chris Drury has a no-movement clause, a Greyhound to Connecticut won't be an option for #23 as it was for #6. He also can't be traded the way #19 and #33 were. Without explicit consent, the only way the Rangers can remove Chris Drury and his cap hit of $7.05 Million for 2011-12 is to buy him out.
Buying out Chris Drury:
Buying out #23 would cost $3,716,667 of the $4,533,333 in space that Sather created, but then also remove $7,050,000 in salary off of the cap and create a whopping $7,866,666 in additional cap space.
Let me (and Capgeek) do the math for you: The Rangers will have $24,654,166 in cap space into next season if they buy out Wolski and Drury. This doesn't even account for possible removals of Sean Avery, Derek Boogaard, and Erik Christensen.
It's not as easy as that, however. Ryan Callahan (we're going to need a Captain now), Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Brian Boyle, Michael Sauer, and Matt Gilroy are all restricted free agents and need new contracts. Having said that, with almost $25,000,000 to spend, I'm confident that Sather can sign who he needs to internally and make one addition from the outside.
Well played, Glen. Well played.
Contributor to Blueshirt Banter Radio