Rangers in Talks with UFA D Dennis Seidenberg; is a Trade for Heatley in the Works Then?
According to reports from both Steve Zipay of Newsday and The Hockey News, a story out of Germany says that the New York Rangers are one of two teams engaged in discussions with the agent for UFA Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg on a contract. The other team is reportedly the Florida Panthers. Seidenberg is supposedly seeking a three year deal while it appears that both the Rangers and the Panthers are hesitant to offer that term with questions surrounding next season’s salary cap ceiling.
In terms of what Seidenberg can offer the Rangers, I would say that like the courtship of fellow UFA D Francis Bouillon, the Blue Shirts would be getting some needed depth on the back line. With rumors still circulating that Sather is shopping veteran defenseman Michal Rozsival and the possibility that 2 rookies could crack the top six as the roster sits now, it makes a ton of sense for the club to bring in an experienced hand for added blue line depth.
According to The Hockey News, Seidenberg “moves the puck quickly and efficiently out of the defensive zone,” and he “knows when to pinch in from the point and is rather effective with the man advantage.” That’s not exactly high praise but it sounds as if Seidenberg can help the Rangers out especially from a depth perspective while also providing a fall back in case a suitor for Rozsival is found.
Apparently conversations have been going on for quite some time between Seidenberg’s side and the Rangers so I don’t think this might be a precursor to the on-again/off-again rumored acquisition of Dany Heatley. Speculation had previously centered on the possible involvement of Rozsival in any package headed back to Ottawa in exchange for Heatley.
NHLSCAP.com shows the Rangers are just a shade under $1.2 million below this year’s salary cap ceiling. Not counting RFA Brandon Dubinsky (who along with Rozsival was rumored to have been requested by Ottawa in the package for Heatley) the Rangers have 13 forwards, 7 defensemen and 2 goalies under contract. Trading for Heatley would require the inclusion of another roster player by the Rangers with a fairly substantial cap hit to offset the $2.5 million difference between Heatley’s ($7.5 million) and Rozsival’s ($5 million) cap figures. Since Dubinsky is a RFA he counts for nothing against the cap number on NHLSCAP.com.
Even if the Rangers demoted both Pat Rismiller and Aaron Voros with their $1 million cap price the Rangers would then only be around $700,000 under the cap if they swung a deal for Heatley and didn’t include another roster player. I don’t see that being enough to acquire Seidenberg and it would also leave the Rangers at the minimum in terms of Forwards and Defensemen on the roster. Sorry Rangers fans; unless Ottawa wants Ales Kotalik in addition to Rozsival it would be too tough to fit all of the pieces under the cap.
In fact, I find it more likely that Florida ends up with Seidenberg since they have more cap space and just as much need for a veteran blue liner. Again a quick look at NHLSCAP.com shows the Panthers have just 4 experienced Defensemen under contract (Bryan McCabe, Keith Ballard, Bryan Allen and Jordan Leopold) and nearly $7 million in available cap space if you deduct Brett McLean (who I believe was bought out earlier this summer?)
Another question I have; with only $1.2 million in cap space, how in the world does Sather intend to sign Seidenberg (or any other depth defenseman) and re-sign Dubinsky? It won’t work. Even if Dubinsky accepted his tender of $600,000+ it would only leave that much for Seidenberg. No, Sather may be up to something else but I don’t think it will be the acquisition of Dany Heatley.