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Thread: Michael Grabner – What's the Cost of a Unicorn?

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    Michael Grabner – What's the Cost of a Unicorn?

    Kristaps Porzingis, the 7’ 3” Latvian who has quickly ascended into the face of the New York Knicks isn’t the city’s only Unicorn. He’s not even the only one who calls Madison Square Garden home. In the truest sense of the Unicorn moniker, Grabner’s production against his contract and expectations makes him truly unique in the league. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, for general manager Jeff Gorton, that’s going to make evaluating the 30-year-old’s next contract awfully difficult.



    Penalty killers, even the best of them, can be justified with a contract similar to the one Grabner currently has. Paul Byron, who sees almost the same SH TOI/GP as Grabner, makes slightly less but was signed without the same scoring upside. Even though he scored 22 goals last season, Byron’s contract is a good example of what a fleet-footed penalty killer can get as a free agent.

    Grabner, however, is more than just a penalty killer in his current form. In fact, since the start of last season, Grabner’s scoring ranks among the elite. In the almost unfathomable context of bottom-six time on ice, he ranks sixth in goals per 60 minutes (1.57). Even more startlingly, he does it without any powerplay time. His 36 goals rank just outside the top 30 (tied with Jamie Benn), but he’s fifth in even-strength goals with 36. That’s more than Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby, the Patty’s Kane and Laine, and many of the forwards who come to mind before Grabner when we think of elite NHL scorers.

    Of the top-75 players with the most goals since the start of last year, Grabner is the only player with none on the powerplay. Byron, who has 27 total goals, is the only other player in the top-100. Additionally, Grabner, who doesn’t see any ice on the power play and averages just 14:05 per night, is the only player with more than 25 goals in that time who averages less than 15:00 per night.

    This is unicorn-level production. A top-five scorer who plays bottom-six minutes without a comparable in the league. Boy does that make guessing at his next contract a lot of fun!

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    The age 30 part makes the guesswork even harder.

    He's no Porzingis, but he's a desirable and useful player.
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    Senior Member Pee-Wee Division 4EverRangerFrank's Avatar
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    Nice read, Mike. Wow this is tough stuff. Gorton going to earn his money with this decision. Personally, I hope he stays. We need his speed since Hagelin is gone and the NHL is a speed oriented league now. Guys with frog-legs are needed on every team. And yeah, he can score!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Respecttheblue View Post
    The age 30 part makes the guesswork even harder.

    He's no Porzingis, but he's a desirable and useful player.
    I feel like Grabner is a guy who can keep his speed through most of his 30s, like Marleau, if he stays healthy but at the same time, I'm sure Gorton and any other GM will try to use that to drive the price down. I honestly think Grabner could sign anywhere from $2.5m to $5.5m.

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    Senior Member Bantam Division paddynyc's Avatar
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    Very tough decision with Hayes, Miller, Skjei and Vesey all up for new contracts. How do you keep them all ?
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    Quote Originally Posted by paddynyc View Post
    Very tough decision with Hayes, Miller, Skjei and Vesey all up for new contracts. How do you keep them all ?
    Easy, Miller and Skeji get locked up. Vesey gets a slight raise as its only his second contract. Hayes gets a bridge deal and is traded before its over once Andersson and Chytil are regulars.

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    I know there's a lot of season left to play, but Miller's price has probably gone down since the end of last year. Playing center has hurt his production, I think, and I know he's a playmaker first, but he's only pacing 13 goals. That's pretty disappointing for a guy with the skillset to score 30.

    In the same vein, Skjei might not be all that pricey either, at least compared to what he could've been. With any increase in productivity from last year, he would have gotten over $5m for sure. But that's a lot easier to justify for a 40+ point defender than a second-pair 30-point defender.

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    Senior Member Bantam Division paddynyc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Long live the King View Post
    Easy, Miller and Skeji get locked up. Vesey gets a slight raise as its only his second contract. Hayes gets a bridge deal and is traded before its over once Andersson and Chytil are regulars.
    Wasn't Hayes last contract a bridge deal? I'm sure he'll be looking for something long term. Would they deal any of the 3 Hayes, Miller or Vesey before the trade deadline?
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    He's a RFA. It doesn't really matter what he's looking for. He either signs the deal the rangers give him, goes to arbitration, or doesn't play. And I didn't say anything about trading anyone before the deadline. Hayes will get traded before his next contract expires.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Long live the King View Post
    He's a RFA. It doesn't really matter what he's looking for. He either signs the deal the rangers give him, goes to arbitration, or doesn't play. And I didn't say anything about trading anyone before the deadline. Hayes will get traded before his next contract expires.
    Hayes will be 26 by the end of the season. There is no bridge deal to be had there. Any deal over 1 year buys UFA eligibility. It would be better to lock him up longer term and trade him or trade him to a team he's allowed to negotiate a new contract with. If he goes to arbitration, he gets a 1 year deal and will be a UFA after next season.
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    All I can say is that I hated what this team looked like after they traded Haglin. I began to like it again after they got Grabner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanJesus View Post
    Hayes will be 26 by the end of the season. There is no bridge deal to be had there. Any deal over 1 year buys UFA eligibility. It would be better to lock him up longer term and trade him or trade him to a team he's allowed to negotiate a new contract with. If he goes to arbitration, he gets a 1 year deal and will be a UFA after next season.
    Wasn't thinking of his age. I think he's still tradeable if we sign him to a longer term deal, but it might be tough to afford depending on what happens with Staal and if they have any free agent targets.

    I just don't see a place for him here after next season with Zib, Chytil, and Andersson down the middle.

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    I'm probably the longest reigning Grabner fan.

    I think he will get a nice contract, 3-4 for 3-4. Its not something the Rangers should be considering. Would much rather see a Letteiri or something else. I'm sure I will miss what Grabner brings, but we can't take on a big contract for a 4th liner, especially with Girardis buyout jumping up and Staals buyout

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    Gotta extend Grabner. But you can't give I'm any kind of no movement clause.

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    For like 4m, though?
    I think id rather have Nash at that amount

    And the Rangers can't afford 4m without the cap going up, and getting rid of Miller, Hayes and/or Vesey.
    Literally, no money next offseason

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    Senior Member Pee-Wee Division AliveIn94's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Future View Post
    I know there's a lot of season left to play, but Miller's price has probably gone down since the end of last year. Playing center has hurt his production, I think, and I know he's a playmaker first, but he's only pacing 13 goals. That's pretty disappointing for a guy with the skillset to score 30.

    In the same vein, Skjei might not be all that pricey either, at least compared to what he could've been. With any increase in productivity from last year, he would have gotten over $5m for sure. But that's a lot easier to justify for a 40+ point defender than a second-pair 30-point defender.
    So Miller, Hayes, or Vesey . . . we have to get something for one of them, whose loss would hurt the least hmmmm . . .

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    Quote Originally Posted by AliveIn94 View Post
    So Miller, Hayes, or Vesey . . . we have to get something for one of them, whose loss would hurt the least hmmmm . . .

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    based on expected cost? Grabner.

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    Senior Member Pee-Wee Division AliveIn94's Avatar
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    Guy plays AV's system perfectly, gets game-clinching goals, tough call.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AliveIn94 View Post
    Guy plays AV's system perfectly, gets game-clinching goals, tough call.

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    100% correct.

    Are you banking on AV being here for awhile?

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    Senior Member Pee-Wee Division AliveIn94's Avatar
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    He got that extension, but if the season sours or we get swept it's not impossible that he would be gone, but I'd think he'd still be here.

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