One of the bigger stories surrounding the Rangers since the lockout ended has been what the team will do with Wade Redden. Yes, Wade Redden. Redden, of course, signed a mammoth six-year, $39 million deal with the Rangers in July of 2008, and after two terrible seasons on Broadway the defenseman was exiled to the Connecticut Whale and hasn't been heard of since.
That is, until now.
Under the new CBA, the owners and NHLPA agreed on what is being dubbed the "Wade Redden Rule," which essentially means that teams no longer have the ability to hide free agent bust contracts like Redden in the minors. Now, anybody who is playing in the AHL and has a salary over $900,000 will count against the salary cap. That means the Rangers will have roughly a little over $5 million left of Redden's $6.5 million salary counting against the cap this season. Oh, and he also still has one more year with a $6.5 million salary left on his deal after this season.
As Bob McKenzie of TSN discusses, the Rangers have three realistic options:
"It would be nice for the Rangers to entirely get rid of Redden's cap hit this season and next but what's behind Door No. 1 isn't an attractive option. That is, give up an asset or assets (draft picks and/or prospects) as inducements to get another team with lots of cap space to take Redden in a trade.
The Rangers won't like that because they don't want to deplete any future considerations on what amounts to a housekeeping matter for them.
Door No. 2 would be to send Redden to the AHL, absorb his $5 million-plus cap hit this season, which they have room for because teams can spend to $70M this season, and then use a compliance buyout this summer to erase the problem for next season. Compliance buyouts do not count against the salary cap.
But that route is fraught with peril. If Redden were to get hurt in the AHL this season and the injury carried over to the summer, an injured player cannot be bought out. Were that to happen, the Rangers could get saddled with Redden's full $6.5M cap hit next season and under no circumstances can they allow that to occur. Next year's cap shrinks to $64.3M and it would be a disaster if the Rangers had to account for Redden's $5M+ instead of having no cap hit on a compliance buyout.
Which bring us to Door No. 3.
The only other option for the Rangers is to take Redden's cap hit this season but not play him. Not in New York. Not in the AHL. Not anywhere.
Put him in bubble wrap, cold storage and call it a year. Make sure his cheques show up on time and wait for the compliance buyout period this summer and cut all ties."
So, in all actuality, the best option is to literally pay Wade Redden over $5 million for the rest of the season to literally do nothing. Let me repeat that: the best option is to pay Wade Redden over $5 million for the rest of the season to literally do nothing. We should all be so lucky.
I can't see any scenario that involves Redden ever suiting up for the Rangers again. For starters, John Tortorella would likely have no use for him, even as an extra defenseman, because Redden was that bad during his time as a Ranger. Secondly, the Garden Faithful turned on Redden so badly that they even booed Jeff Woywitka at times early last year when he would touch the puck simply because he wore Redden's dreaded No. 6.
Either way, this is not the last we'll hear of the Redden situation within the next few weeks.