One of the more serious mistakes Glen Sather has made in recent years has been to sign Wade Redden. It’s not that Redden is an especially bad player, although he certainly has not lived up to expectations, but it’s his six-year, $39 million contract that hits their salary cap hard, makes him almost impossible to trade, and is really an albatross.
Going forward, Redden, because of that contract, is not going to come close to helping the Rangers. So what can they do about it? Dave from the Blue Seat Blogs recently wrote a great piece discussing the possibility of sending Redden to the minors.
This is part of the reason why sending him to the minors is because buying him out isn’t really a good option.
Most fans realize that Redden won’t be traded, and that the only way the Rangers will get rid of the albatross contract is to either demote him or buy him out. Buying him out leaves the Rangers with a smaller cap hit (anywhere from $2 million to $4 million, depending on the season), but that cap hit is spread out for the next eight seasons. To make a comparison, the Rangers buying out Wade Redden would be extremely similar to the Islanders buying out Alexei Yashin. For those wondering, the Islanders are still paying Yashin, and will continue to do so for the next six seasons.
So the next best option is to send him to the minors. It would free up the Rangers’ salary situation by an whopping $6.5 million per year. The problem is, you still have to pay him.
This situation is not the same situation as when Darius Kasparitis was sent to Hartford. The one big difference now is that MSG (of which the Rangers are a subsidiary) has now been spun off. The $3 million that the Rangers were eating in Kaspar’s salary was easily absorbed by Cablevision’s profits. Now that MSG has been spun off, the $6.5 million from Wade Redden has a much, much larger impact on the bottom line. MSG was spun off from Cablevision because it was dragging down Cablevision’s stock price. If MSG was operating at that little profit while with Cablevision, imagine how little it would be when they are eating $6.5 million in Hartford.
There is also the issue of the “developmental rule” which is something I didn’t know about.
Aside from ownership, there are still other issues to ponder. Of the 18 skaters that dress for an AHL game, 13 of these spots must be reserved for players that have played under 260 professional (NHL, AHL, ECHL) games. The AHL calls this the “developmental rule”. Currently, the Wolfpack have eight players that hit this threshold (Anders Eriksson, Ilkka Heikkinen [via international hockey], Donald Brashear, P.A. Parenteau, Derek Couture, Steve Valiquette, Brent Henley, Corey Locke). In addition, the following four players will reach that threshold next year: Brodie Dupont, Jared Nightingale, Dane Byers, Ryan Garlock. That brings the total to 12 players hitting this threshold for next year. Of course, not all these players will be back next year, as most have expiring contracts, and not all will be re-signed. It’s still a good number of “professional” players sitting in Hartford.
Thoughts: Dave also examines that after being demoted to the minors, Redden may just refuse to show up. I hate to say it, but this would really be the best case scenario, but it would be a tragic thing if it happened. Like I’ve said, Redden himself is not such a bad player, although certainly not a first-pair defenseman, but it’s his contract that really makes him a problem.
If Redden walked away, from what I know, the Rangers would suspend him and wouldn’t have to pay his salary. The problem is that Redden wouldn’t be able to play for anyone at that point which would be a real shame if this guy is run from the NHL just because Sather was stupid enough to offer him a ton of money.
Personally, I think the next time the NHL CBA expires the league really needs to take a look at a case like this. It seems crazy to me that a guy’s career in the NHL could potentially be ended because he accepted too much money. The Rangers and Sather are completely at fault here, but it’s really not in the best interest of the league to force them to pay for the mistake for the next four years.
Not to mention, this is a disaster for Ranger fans. What do you think? What can the Rangers do with Redden?