NHL Salary Cap Hinders the New York Rangers Off-season Decisions

New York Rangers

The off-season for the New York Rangers will consist of some easy choices and some very hard choices that will be impacted by the NHL salary cap. The easy choice came when the Rangers won the second phase of the draft lottery and won the first pick, which means they will either select young sensation Alexis Lafreniere or trade the pick if some team comes in with a trade offer that they cannot refuse.  The second issue is the effect the salary cap has on the rest of their off-season decisions.

The New York Rangers will not keep three goalies

“We won’t go into next year with three goalies,” General Manager Jeff Gorton said recently.

One of the issues in this decision is the flat cap that the NHL has next year. The Rangers were already going to have issues with the cap. Under the recently reached agreement,  the salary cap will remain flat at $81.5 million next season.

Since the Rangers have said that they will not keep three goalies, either Henrik Lundqvist or Alexandar Georgiev will have to be moved from the roster.

One option is to trade Georgiev and keep Lundqvist as Igor Shesterkin’s backup for the final year of his contract, allowing the King to finish out his contract, retire as a Ranger will all of the pomp and circumstance that he deserves. The issue with that is the Rangers are not going to let Georgiev go for less than what they think he is worth, which probably means a first-round pick. This is not likely to happen, so the next move is to find an amicable way to part with Lundqvist.

Ranger’s President John Davidson said that should happen.  “The Rangers are really going to have to and want to do the right thing with,” Davidson said last week “for a “future Hall of Famer.”

That means that the Rangers could trade him, which is unlikely. The most realistic option is to buy out Lundqvist, which comes with a cap hit of $5.5 million worth of dead space for ’20-21, a savings of $3 million, and a dead-space hit of $1.5 million in ’21-22.

There have been some rumors that Lundqvist might go back to Sweden and play with Frolunda, which also has his brother on their team. However, Frolunda has denied those rumors.

The New York Rangers also have a decision concerning other players

The current list of free agents includes Ryan Strome, Brendan Lemieux, Tony DeAngelo, and Georgiev, who are restricted, and Jesper Fast who is un-restricted. The decision to let Fast go might be easier if they draft Lafreniere, who should nicely slide into Fast’s line spot. The other ones must either be signed or traded or just let walk to another team.

In order to free up cap space, there will have to be buyouts, most likely of Brendan Smith and/or Marc Staal, and hope that the young defenseman in the system can step up and replace them.

It will be a busy off-season as the Rangers try to get over the quick and unexpected play-off exit and trying to keep the foundation of young talented players that can help the Blueshirts compete for a Stanley Cup in the near future.



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