The most common and cynical prediction I've seen today is that Brian Campbell will end up in the wrong shade of blue, playing in Madison Square Garden. While history tells us that players love to jump on those huge contracts that Glen Sather hands out like candy, then go on to display stunning mediocrity until they are dealt away in futility, I find it hard to believe that the Rangers are really in a position right now to match what Atlanta is going to be offering the Soup.
Yes, Jagr's contract is finally up. However, faithful readers, remember that the Caps have been paying a portion of Jagr's contract all these years that he's been in New York, so the MSG purses haven't been weighed down as much as it might have looked on the surface. The Rangers reportedly want Jagr back, and this time they'll have to foot the bill without Ted Leonsis' help. They already have 8 million going to Gomez and another 7.5 to Drury. Add another 2.5 million for their top 2 defensemen and 7.5 for Lundqvist. They have to replace Rosival, which is where the interest in Campbell comes in, but if they're going to bring Jagr back, then they can't afford to sink 7+ million into a single defenseman.
That being said, theyr'e still the New York Rangers, and money in New York doesn't work like it does in the rest of the hockey playing world. After Drury and Gomez, the rest of the Rangers' forwards are bargain basement young talent that they brought in during their pre-lockout fire sale. Say whatever else you will (and I will) about Sather, he did a good job during that lockout preiod to create a solid foundation of players around his diamond studded superstars. Unfortunately for the Rangers, a lot of those players will be up for new deals next year and will be at least doubling thier salaries. That's shaky financial ground on which to make a long term, high dollar offer to someone like Brian Campbell.