Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ranger Roster Review 1: Nik Antropov

This offseason our New York Rangers are facing a lot of key decisions as they look toward next year. This will be a big off season - their first with Tortorella - as the new coach tires to mold the team in his image and the Rangers try to get the most talent they can within their salary constraints. It's a tough road because the Rangers have less than $15 million in cap space to fill about 10 roster spots. As bad as they want to add talent - the reality is - they will be hard pressed to even keep the team they currently have.

We'll start the ball rolling today with big forward Nik Antropov:

Position: Right Wing
Status: Unrestricted Free Agent
Salary: $2,150,000
Age: 29 (8 years in the league)

Regular season: (Rangers + Toronto)
Games Played: 81
Goals (28) + Assists (31) = 59 Points
Plus Minus: (-14)
Penalties in Minutes: 30
Goals-per-Shot = 28/224 = 13.3%
Nik's stats are combined from Toronto and the Rangers. In 18 games with us, Nik has 7 goals, 6 assists and a plus-minus of (-1).

Games Played: 6
Goals (2) + Assists (1) = 3 Points
Plus Minus: (-1)
Penalties in Minutes: 6
Goals-per-Shot = 2/17 = 11.8%

Dave Pucks says: A big veteran guy who shows some nice flashes of talent - but who can also disappear for days at a time. A former first round (#10 overall) pick in 1998 for the Leafs, he has size and can use it effectively - especially around the net. A trade deadline acquisition for us from Toronto - he was a part of the Rangers late season surge to the playoffs. His plus-minus got much better once he was off the Maple Leafs. And his goals-per-shot % is well over 10% - one fo the best on the team. Showed up in games 1 and 7 of the playoffs - getting a the Ranger's lone goal in Game 7. He had 2 of our 11 playoff goals. And I think it says something to have a playoff plus minus of just (-1) when the Caps outscored us 19-11. He becomes a "27-7" unrestricted free agent on July 1st. So, if the Rangers fail to sign him - they get no compensation for him.

I'd like to keep him - I think Tortorella can get him to shoot more - hustle more - get in better shape - and be a bigger factor next year. But he will turn 30 next year - and so his best years may be behind him. In the end - it comes down to how much he will cost in dollars (and years)? We'll be hard pressed to keep everyone.

Nugman says: He is like Zherdev for the Rangers. They can be brilliant, but they can't rely on any consistency from them. And if he happens to take a series off mentally, like he did for the most part against the Caps, the Rangers are in trouble. I like Antropov's size, but as we have discussed before, the Rangers have too many COMPLIMENTARY players. Antropov is another guy with 40 goal talent, but only will score 25 and may not show up.

The Rangers will do what most teams do, they will look at what they gave up (a second round pick) to get him, and they will use that as added pressure to sign him long term and give him extra cash, which is stupid. Players should be paid based on play, not what you have up for them. Just because you made a stupid deal once, doesn't mean you should use that as a basis for making another dumb decision.

The Rangers can't pay this guy through the roof. They can't pay for potential, not with their cap space. If I am the Rangers, my number one priority is Marian Hossa this offseason. He took a one year deal from detroit this year, scored his 40 goals, they prob won't bring him back given that aside from zetteberg, they still need to extend most of their younger players. If I am the Rangers, I make Hossa a competitive, 2 year, 12 million dollar offer, see if he takes it. (That 6 mill a season would come from letting Naslund walk, and potentially Antropov)

We need that 40+ goal scoring ability, and he is a safe a bet as anyone on the free agent market to put up those numbers. I could see him and gomez getting along quite nicely together.If Hossa doesn't take it, there are a few other options I would look to for scoring before dealing with Antropov. I like him, but if we are giving out a big contract, it needs to be on a sure thing. The Rangers can't go more than 3 years, 9 million, MAX on Antropov. 3 mill a season for a potential 30+ goal scorer, that will prob score 25 is fine by me. That makes financial sense.


And everybody - feel free to add your comments below too.

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