Well the free-agent dust has settled and its now time for the Rangers to get their restricted free agents under contract for next season. The team has five RFAs remaining after Matt Gilroy was not offered a qualifying offer and signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, Brian Boyle, Artem Anisimov and Michael Sauer are in need of new contracts for 2011-12 and beyond.
According to the New York Post, both Dubinsky and Boyle will file for arbitration, with Callahan potentially to follow. Though arbitration sounds like a dirty word, it is actually very beneficial to the organization. Once a player files for arbitration, other teams cannot try and poach them away with offer sheets. The biggest example this off-season has been with the New Jersey Devils and Zach Parise.
These arbitration filings also trigger a second buyout period for the Rangers next month. The two most talked about potential victims appear to be Woltek Wolski and Sean Avery, though with the Richards signing I don’t feel either will in the end. Wolski is currently slated to man the left wing alongside Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik, while Avery’s hard-work last season may have bought him another year on Broadway. He’s also good friends with Richards, so they could also buy him another season in blue.
In the end, all five RFAs will be on the team next year, and I believe the same goes for Avery and Wolski.