Friday, January 28, 2011

Does Moulson Deal Impact Dubinsky, Callahan or Boyle Contracts?

With each new contract signed by an NHL player we get another piece of information to help us see what the market might look like this summer when Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan and Brian Boyle need new contracts.  Obviously both those players and the New York Rangers were watching intently for the details of the most recent contract extension for forward Matt Moulson who signed a 3 year deal for 9.4 million.  Does the Moulson contract help shape the market for the three bigger RFA contracts the Rangers will now have to negotiate this summer?  Which of the three Rangers is the Moulson situation most comparable to?
The most comparable of the three to Moulson in terms of situation is likely to be Brian Boyle as they both had breakout years later I their careers.  Last season Moulson put up 30-18-48 as a 26-year-old and Boyle is currently on pace for a line of 28-14-42.  Those lines are nearly identical, however, there are some huge difference between Boyle and Moulson that will certainly impact their deals.  On the positive for Boyle is that he is a center which always inherently means more money than a winger would get.  Working against Boyle is the fact that he is only set to be an RFA this season while Moulson was set to be a UFA and that Moulson has now put up his numbers for two consecutive seasons while Boyle has only done it this year. Given the combination of those factors I would bet Boyle’s deal to likely be one-year pact between the averages of Moulson RFA deal last season (2.45) and this contract (3.13).  Look for Boyle to come out in the 2.7-2.8 area on a one year deal.
In terms of Dubinsky there is not much here as the better comparable is still the David Backes deal from St. Louis due to the more direct comparison in terms of production in many areas of the game.  The key difference in the Rangers and Blues scenarios in that comparison is that Backes was due to be UFA, like Moulson, this summer while Callahan has one year left, and Dubinsky two years until they reach the unrestricted level. 
Backes has 87 goals and 106 assists (.58 ppg) in his 296 career NHL games; Dubinsky is at 64 goals and 99 assists (.57 ppg) in his 286 games; while Callahan comes in at 63 goals and 56 assists (.46 ppg) in his 256 games.  The 4.5 million for Backes is still an overpayment, though he has gotten himself an All-Star invite since the new contract (with identical numbers to Dubinsky).  The differential in the years to free agency will save the Rangers money, but is still the best comparable for Dubinsky and Callahan.   I would expect Dubinsky to come in decently over the price of Moulson, while Callahan should come in over that number but similar area.
The underlying question for the Rangers might be how much money do the injuries both players suffered this season impact the salaries on their next contract.