Kaapo Kakko Signs; Trouba To Arbitration Can They Lock Him Up Long Term? Maybe Not...
The New York Rangers have signed Kaapo Kakko to an entry level contract. No surprise there... Of course they were going to lock up the 2nd overall pick from this years draft, but he got a very favorable deal. Terms of the deal were not disclosed by the team but according to Cap Friendly Kakko will have a base salary of $925,000 (which is standard for rookies) but performance bonuses of $2.65 Million bringing his AAV up to $3.575 Million with a $92,500 signing bonus that he'll get every July 1st of the contract. Not a bad pay day for a rookie! He will make $70,000 if he winds up going to Hartford in the AHL which no one expects to happen. No one knows what the performances bonuses are but obviously goals, assists, points and possibly even games played could be tied to those extra dollars.
With KK under contract that leaves the Rangers roughly $7 Million dollars in Cap Space (Bonus dollars count towards the cap even if they're never paid out) with 4 RFA's still to get under contract including Brendan Lemieux, Pavel Buchnevich, Anthony Deangelo and the big one... Jacob Trouba.
Normally, anyone in the Hockey World can tell you that taking a player to arbitration isn't the greatest thing in the world. Teams have to sit in the room with the player (or rep) and tear them apart for lack of a better term, and prove that they're not worth the money they're asking for. Thats not exactly the kind of process you want to put a player through that you just traded for and are trying to convince to stay long term. But, the good news is, once a player files for arbitration its guaranteed they'll be in uniform that season. Whether they go all the way or settle before hand... either way, they'll be playing that season.
Trouba's hearing is set for July 25th so they have two weeks to get a deal done before they have to sit at that table. My feeling is a deal will get done, BUT... The Rangers after signing Artemi Panarin may find themselves in a tough spot. Jacob Trouba had a career year. A year in which he earned $5.5 Million. He's on par stats-wise with Erik Karlsson who just signed for $11.5 Million. Now no one is confusing these two players, but facts are facts and if you're in the Trouba camp, you're bringing up that fact almost immediately. He is pretty similar to Oliver Ekman-Larsson who's making $8.25 and John Carlson (who's scored more expoints) who's at $8 Million. Trouba was 13th in scoring so the Rangers have their work cut out for them to bring him in at a cap friendly number. The good news is Dan Girardi's cap hit goes from $3 Million this year to $1 Million the next few years.
Thats why, and no one else is saying this, don't be surprised if a shorter term, even 1 year deal actually happens. Before you get nasty in the comments, its a small chance, but still a chance. And it may not be that bad. Trouba's going to have a prominent role on this team. He'll get a lot of minutes both regular strength and power play. Barring an injury, he's going to have a career year... Especially if he's passing to Kakko, Panarin, and Zibanejad! And lets not forget... RFA's who sign a one year deal can ink an extension on January 1st. Maybe both sides taking this time to get a feel for each other might be a good thing. Either way, I think the Rangers need to do whatever they can to keep Trouba's money as low as they can...
Or give him whatever he wants and just trade Kreider already!
And Give Kaapo a decent jersey number!
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