News broke in the past few days that the NHL was looking to create a cap of $60 for the 2014 season and even lower past that.
Problem with that is, many teams will have quite the problem to fix if their roster has many big contracts.
One of them, is the New York Rangers.
The Rangers are not a team that is in serious cap trouble for a long period of time. Over the John Tortorella years, the focus of the team has shifted from bringing in big stars to waiting and holding on to their young draft picks and prospects.
Among the benefits to this are smaller contracts and more depth. Along with that, they only have two players with contracts that exceed the 2014-2015 season – Brad Richards and yet-to-play Rick Nash.
But like with any big market team, the Rangers have many contracts and players that will bog down the cap with rising salary costs going forward.
According to CapGeek.com, the Rangers’ cap number currently sits at $62 million. Depending on when the new cap number will take hold, this year or next, shedding money to prevent a massive penalty may be needed sooner than later.
Even if the NHLPA wins with their number of $65M, this leaves the Rangers in a bit of a bind. They still have to sign defenseman, Michael Del Zotto to a contract. His qualifying offer would be $826,875 according to their metrics, but coming off $1M salary last year and probable Rangers management’s desire to lock him up long term, that number will be higher.
On top of this, there are various players heading for restricted and unrestricted free agency over the next season or two. Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin, and Ryan McDonagh will all be RFA’s in 2013-14, with Chris Krieder becoming the same in ’14-15.
In 2014-15, Marian Gaborik, Ryan Callahan, Brian Boyle, Dan Girardi, and reigning Vezina Trophy winner, Henrik Lundqvist will all be UFAs.
Some will go, but most the Rangers will try to make stay. To do so, most of them will need major contract bumps from what they have now.
Callahan is making only a bit over $4M in his final year and Girardi over $3M. Lundqvist will be an interesting case, making $6.875M, and seeing if he will come with a hometown discount heading into what could be his last major long-term contract, at 32 years of age.
So that is where the Rangers stand, even without the major implications of the end of the lockout known, we do know most of the way this team will be made up. Standing at only 22 players on the roster, they will probably have to add a free agent or two or make a call up. Dylan McIlrath, Kris Newbury, or another player could rise from the Connecticut Whale to take a roster spot.
And even with all of these concerns, the Rangers only sit at 10th in worst cap space, so the room may still exist to make one or two more moves before a season we hope to have this year.