Phil might want to start looking for a new roommate.
It looks as if the Leafs aren’t quite done working the phones yet. Toronto has already shipped out their three most obvious trade pieces in Cody Franson, Mike Santorelli and Daniel Winnik. And while we’ve heard some rumblings about the possibility of Roman Polak and Joffrey Lupul being dealt as well, TSN’s Bob McKenzie is saying that the New York Rangers could be interested in acquiring Tyler Bozak.
NY Rangers have interest in Tyler Bozak, per @TSNBobMcKenzie . He said it won’t be an easy deal to work out.
— Neil Greenberg (@ngreenberg) February 26, 2015
The above tweet from the Washington Post’s Neil Greenberg is just about the best we can do right now. McKenzie’s remarks were aired on NBCSN’s NHL Live, and it doesn’t look like a clip is available yet. We will update this post if one does surface.
The difficulty for the Rangers in acquiring a player like Bozak comes from their complicated cap situation. New York doesn’t have a whole lot of money to spend, and Bozak makes $4.2M per year for three more seasons. But let’s also remember that this late in the year, and with every day that passes until the deadline, Bozak becomes cheaper (as more of his contract is paid off by the Leafs) and the Rangers’ cap space grows.
It wouldn’t be unreasonable to think that, with a roster piece coming back, the Rangers could fit Bozak under their cap. And going forward, not resigning a player like Mats Zuccarello would provide the Blueshirts with the cash they need to pay Bozak.
So let’s say that somehow, the Rangers can afford Bozak. What’s coming back?
Larry Brooks of the New York Post wrote a couple weeks back that the Rangers could reasonably part with either a second round pick or 21-year old J.T. Miller in a deal for Mike Santorelli. Brooks referred to Miller as the Rangers’ “lone expendable young gun… but only because of his inability to generate trust from coach Alain Vigneault, to whom every one of the 21-year-old’s mistakes is one mistake too many.”
Miller was drafted by the Rangers in the first round, 15th overall, in 2011. He’s split this year between New York (five goals, 13 points in 35 games) and AHL Hartford (six goals, 15 points in 18 games).
While Miller would certainly be a nice piece for the rebuilding Leafs to add, he alone wouldn’t be enough for Bozak.
I mean, hey, we’re talking about Number One Centre Tyler Bozak here.
If the Rangers were to throw in a pick, perhaps either their own or Tampa Bay’s 2015 second round selection (acquired in the Ryan Callahan trade), we’re getting a lot closer to fair value. And remember that, for the Leafs, beyond any pick or prospect, clearing that kind of cash owed to Bozak over the next few years has significant value in itself.