The NHLPA announced today all of the dates for pending restricted free agents.
For the New York Rangers that impacts Jimmy Vesey, Brady Skjei, Kevin Hayes and Ryan Spooner.
A player can be awarded a one or two-year deal in arbitration, and here are the scheduled hearings:
- Jimmy Vesey - July 30th
- Brady Skjei - July 31st
- Kevin Hayes - August 2nd
- Ryan Spooner August 4th
Jimmy Vesey, 25, is coming off a two-year entry level deal that saw him count $925,000 against the salary cap. Based on his performance, 55 points in 159 games, Vesey is likely to get a bridge deal.
Brady Skjei, 24, is coming off a three-year entry level deal that saw him count $925,000 against the salary cap. The Rangers could go either way with him, and how they proceed will be interesting. They could attempt to save in the long run by offering him a multi-year deal or they could give him a two-year “show-me” contract. Quinn should be able to have a positive impact on the Rangers’ young rear guard, but there is no telling which way the team is leaning.
Kevin Hayes, 26, is coming off a two-year deal that cost $2.6 million against the cap. Hayes turns 27 in May, so it is very unlikely that he will get a one-year deal of any kind because that would take him to unrestricted free agency. He is a perfect candidate for a long-term extension, because he’s shown improvement every year he’s been with the Rangers. The team has an abundance of centers, but right now Hayes remains one of the best options up front, and locking him up makes a ton of sense.
Ryan Spooner, 26, is coming off a one-year deal that cost $2.825 million against the cap. He turns 27 in January, and therefore will become an unrestricted free agent in July of 2019 if he were to receive a one-year award. Spooner is a player who the Rangers could keep for now, and then flip at the trade deadline as an asset. He’s proven to be a 40-point player and could be a good depth acquisition for a contender.
I doubt the Rangers will go to arbitration with either of the above players. The team hasn’t reached an actual hearing since 2009, and that’s when Nikolai Zherdev asked for $3.9 million a year. The arbiter ruled in his favor, but the team walked away after previously offering him $3.25 million. It was an odd situation considering Zherdev was fresh off a 23-goal, and 58-point campaign.
Overall, Skjei and Hayes are the two deals that will be the toughest for Jeff Gorton, with Hayes being the easier of the two. The hearings being set are a formality, and I would expect they won’t have much of an impact on the contract work that the Rangers’ front office has ongoing.
Cap information courtesy of Puck Pedia.