Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Does Laich Contract Raise Price For Rangers To Keep Callahan, Dubinsky?

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

News came out this morning that Brook Laich agreed to a six-year contract that will pay him $27 million to stay with the Washington Capitals.  Laich agreed to the deal just days before he would have hit the unrestricted market and had the ability to look through all his options.  It is possible he could have gotten more money or more years by waiting until Friday to sign, but he decided to stay where he knows and was given plenty in terms of years and money to do so. The question left behind from the Laich deal for Rangers’ fans: How does this impact the contracts Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky will get?
Laich, 28, is seen as a heart-and-soul, grinding type player that can chip in approximately 50 points while being a critical part of a locker room.  That seems to be a pretty accurate description of what Callahan Dubinsky are for the Rangers.  In term of the Rangers duo, there is more upside for offensive improvement as both showed this year which could make them both think about seeking similar numbers to what Laich just receieved.
Statistically the players are not that different either.  Laich has 100 goals and 137 assists in 475 career NHL games.  Those numbers equate to a .499 points per game or 41 points per 82 games.  Laich has surpassed those career totals in each of the last three seasons, hitting 50 points twice in that span while scoring 20+ goals in three of the last four years. 
Callahan has 76 goals and 68 assists in 284 career NHL games.  Those numbers equate to a .507 points per game average or 42 points per 82 games.  Callahan inflated his career averages with last year’s .8 points per game average, but he still has scored at least 19 goals and 37 points in the last three seasons.
Dubinsky has the best career numbers of the trio as he has 71 goals and 108 assists in 316 career games.  His .566 points per game average puts him on pace for 46 points per 82 game season.  Dubinsky has raised his point totals in each of his four full seasons in the NHL and is coming off a career year that saw him lead the team in goals (24), assists (30) and points (54).    
In terms of statistics and value to their team’s there is little difference between Laich, Callahan and Dubinsky.  The biggest difference in the cases is that Laich was going to be an unrestricted free agent, while Callahan has one more year until he would be and Dubinsky is two years away from that freedom.  The difference in free agency status is a huge card for Glen Sather as he should get at least one year at a lower than market level rate.  One other thing to consider is that Laich staying in Washington weakens an already thin unrestricted free agent class, so it could make Callahan and Dubinsky even more attractive options to teams looking to add talent and leave them as potential offer sheet candidates.  The Laich signing, while not supposed to be used for comparative purposes certainly should leave Callahan and Dubinsky feeling pretty good about where there next contract is going to end up.