Qualifying Offers Extended to Five RFAs

Bruce Bennett

Stepan, McDonagh, Zuccarello, Hagelin, and Falk all receive qualifying offers.

According to Andrew Gross the New York Rangers have extended qualifying offers to five of their six noteworthy RFAs. Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh, Mats Zuccarello, Carl Hagelin, and Justin Falk have all received qualifying offers from the club, defenseman Michael Sauer has not.

Not included among the qualifying offers is defenseman Michael Sauer, who has not played since suffering a concussion on a hit by the Maple Leafs’ Dion Phaneuf on Dec. 5, 2011. He becomes an unrestricted free agent though until he can prove his health, it’s unlikely another team would sign him.

What this means for Michael Sauer's health and probability of continuing his NHL career should be clear to all of us. I can barely express how upset I am about what happened with Sauer and how promising his career looked. Wherever you are and whatever the future holds for you Mike Sauer I wish you the very best of luck and the very best of health. Once a Ranger, always a Ranger.

From Gross' article:

So, according to math supplied by the math gurus at capgeek.com, McDonagh, coming off a three-year entry level deal of $2.625 million, required a qualifying offer of $826,875. Stepan, who had a three-year entry-level deal of $2.462 million, also has a QO of $826,875. Hagelin, who was on a two-year entry-level deal of $1.325 million, was qualified at $660,000.

Zuccarello signed a one-year deal worth a pro-rated $700,000 after returning from the KHL so he was qualified at $735,000. Falk played on a $825,000 one-way deal last season and was qualified at $866,250.

Of course, this is not what the players have to sign for. McDonagh and Stepan, particularly, will probably be seeking deals worth upwards of $4 million annually, at the least.

Zuccarello, Falk, McDonagh and Hagelin are salary arbitration eligible. Stepan is not.

I think Gross hit the nail right on the head with what McDonagh and Stepan are going to command at the negotiating table. Signing McDonagh and Stepan to reasonable long-term contracts should be a high priority for Rangers management. Investing in players like McDonagh and Stepan is something that will keep the team competitive for years to come.

Hagelin, Zuccarello, and Falk are of lesser priority but they also all should be brought back into the fold. Though it is worth noting that none of them should make anything close to what the Rangers offer Stepan and McDonagh. I expect Falk, Zuccarello, and Hagelin all to fall into the $800k-2.4 million range with Hagelin being the player who will might get the largest contract of the three. However, this is all a guessing game and it is hard to say what someone like Zuccarello is going to want considering his unique road to the NHL and return to the team last season. I personally don't think Hagelin is a guy who is worth much more than $1.8 million a year on the cap at this stage of his career, hopefully the Rangers can get him to a sign a reasonable deal.

I expect we will see Sather try to lock-up McDonagh and Stepan to longer term deals than Hagelin who I think the club will offer a two-year deal similar to the contracts that Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, and Artem Anisimov got after coming off of their entry-level deals.

So what do you guys think? Who should get the biggest pay-day and how would you prioritize these five RFAs in terms of who gets what kind of money and who is the most important to invest in? Keep in mind the cap space the Rangers have to work with. Have at in the comments guys and girls.

Let's go Rangers.

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