Re-visiting a question previously mentioned on Rangers’ posts, would it behoove the Rangers to bring back veteran, play-making Center Michael Nylander? According to Steve Hindle, the Capitals blogger on Hockeybuzz, the team has place Nylander on waivers. This move in and of itself is more complicated than it would seem.
Because of Nylander’s No Movement Clause (NMC), he would have had to have approved this before it could have taken place. This would lead me to believe that there may be a team interested in the services of Nylander that would also interest Nylander. Chances are that no one would claim Nylander because of the hefty cap hit of $4.875 million for each of the next two years. However, it is possible that if the Capitals ran Nylander through re-entry waivers a team would claim him and only be on the hook for half of the cap hit.
Nylander has performed well since going to Grand Rapids of the AHL on a conditioning assignment recording a goal and 6 points in 5 games playing for the Griffins. There were questions about whether or not Nylander was in game shape. His performance in the AHL would seem to indicate that he may be ready to go.
Now let’s assume that Nylander ends up on re-entry waivers; what teams may be interested? Well the team nearest and dearest to our hearts, the Rangers, has certainly had a history with Nylander. We also have a need for a quality playmaking center on the roster. Could the Rangers be a fit?
Two problems exist with bringing Nylander in; the salary cap and the possibility that Nylander’s style wouldn’t fit with the current playing style employed by the Rangers. I believe that if the Rangers decided that Nylander was a realistic option, they could make this move happen.
First off, let’s address the salary cap; according to the website Capgeek.com, the Rangers have approximately $846,000 left in cap space (full season salary). Grabbing Nylander on re-entry would require a commitment of nearly $2.45 million for each of the next 2 years. That means the Rangers would have to trim at least 1.5 million off its current roster.
One move that has been rumored has been a deal with the Ducks that would send F Chris Higgins to Anaheim for C (and former Ranger Todd Marchant. The savings the Rangers would see in that move would be $1.125 this year in cap savings. This leaves us only a few hundred thousand or so away from having the cap space necessary to add Nylander on re-entry. The demotion of another forward or any minor move could realize this savings. Therefore, the cap can be maneuvered to accommodate the addition of Michael Nylander.
Now what about playing style? This was my biggest problem with the possibility of acquiring Nylander when he was possibly available earlier this season. After watching the Rangers and remembering what Nylander’s skill set is, I actually think he could fit in with this group of Rangers. Maybe he doesn’t play a style that would work with a player like Gaborik but maybe he could augment a second scoring line.
Nylander isn’t the type of forward that would ordinarily fit Tort’s aggressive, fore-checking style but then again not all 3 forwards on the ice normally are in on the fore-check. Is it conceivable that adding Nylander to the lineup and putting him with Ryan Callahan and Chris Drury could result in more production from those two players.
It would also be likely that Nylander would benefit the Rangers power play. There is no question that Nylander brings elite playmaking skills that could work well with Gaborik, Kotalik and Del Zotto on the PP.
After last night’s contest against the Flames, the Rangers might be in an even more desperate need for a veteran Center after losing both Chris Drury (concussion) and Brandon Dubinsky (undisclosed injury) indefinitely. Nylander on re-entry might be an appealing option for the Rangers to bridge the gap while Drury and Dubinsky are out.
What do you think Rangers fans; should the Rangers look at bringing Nylander back to Manhattan? Would he fit in with this current Rangers’ roster?