Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Front-loading Contracts For Callahan, Dubinsky Would Aid Them and Rangers

When Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, Brian Boyle and Michael Sauer all elected to file for arbitration yesterday they set the stage for an interesting few weeks for GM Glen Sather, but they also made his job easier.  There is no worry about any of the four key Rangers being offer sheeted by an opposing club.  There is no uncertainty about the timetable of having a contract and/or dollar amount for next season decided.  There is also now the option for Sather to use the secondary buyout period if he wants to reconsider his options on players like Wojtek Wolski and/or Sean Avery who were amongst those potentially rumored to be bought out before the June window.
Having been done a favor by the players filing for arbitration it is now up to GM Glen Sather to take advantage of it and get deals done with these players before the hearing ever happen starting later this month.  With Dubinsky and Callahan the deal should be of the longer term variety 4-5 years to lock in two integral pieces of the core, while on Sauer and Boyle the deals are likely to be shorter term 1-2 seasons to have both prove that last season was not a fluke.
In negotiating the longer deals with Dubinsky and Callahan, Sather could employ a similar tact as he did with the Brad Richards negotiation in giving a large piece of the money in the first few seasons to entice the players to potentially take a lower cap hit over the course of the deal. While the two won’t have the extra years at the end of the deal to drastically lower the cap hit, what can happen is the players get their money guaranteed before the new CBA and protect themselves against rollbacks.  Basically what you would do with their contracts is invert the Staal deal.
Take Callahan as an example: 

2011-12: $5.25
2012-13: $5.25
2013-14: $3
2014-15: $2.5
2015-16: $2

While Callahan is not worth the $5.25 million he would be getting in the first two years of the deal it would allow the Rangers to get him for a lower cap hit than if they did an escalating deal where he worries about potential rollbacks in salary following the new deal.  The move also protects the Rangers if the new CBA counts salaries as they are against the cap as Callahan’s later years would be at a decreased rate.  There are positive trade-offs for both sides in this kind of arrangement.  Overall the deal would come out to a five-year, $18.25 million contract with an AAV of $3.65.

If public perception is correct, then this kind of tact might be even more effective for Dubinsky who gets his money up front and then worries about his next deal later on.  Just something to consider, but either way Glen Sather will be busy over the next few weeks to not squander the gift some of his key players gave him in taking the arbitration route.