Jan 3, 2015; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) celebrates scoring a goal with defenseman Dan Girardi (5) against the Buffalo Sabres during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
At this point, we have all gone beyond beating a dead horse. The New York Rangers are close to being in cap-hell. They have an abundance of important, young players up for free-agency next year, and not nearly enough dollars to do it. So, will the Rangers be forced to make a cap-related trade at some point during this season?
Next summer, the Rangers will have Chris Kreider, Kevin Hayes, J.T. Miller, and Emerson Etem as RFA’s, while Keith Yandle, Dan Boyle, and Dominic Moore will hit the open market as UFA’s. This does not bode well for the Rangers. Boyle will probably not be re-signed after this season, allowing other players to be brought back. However, it will prove to be difficult.
In Kreider’s case, you will have to look at the deal Brandon Saad just signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets as the measuring stick. Kreider will be looking for $6 million plus after this season, if he has a monster year.
Miller just signed a one-year deal. It is unlikely he would be willing to sign the ridiculous bridge-deal that the Rangers love to give out. Hayes will definitely be getting a raise, while Etem must show the Rangers brass something this year to get more money. Moore is one of the most underrated players in the league, and his contract is currently a bargain, so there is no guarantee he won’t be asking for more. Yandle could be one of the top free agents next summer, so keeping him will be difficult decision.
New York Rangers
This is why the Rangers are going to have to shed salary at some point this summer or during the season. They simply can not afford to let any of these players go because they gave out some bad contracts (see Dan Girardi).
The problem for the Rangers is that they also can’t afford to weaken the roster due to the fact that their window is inching more and more towards being shut, everyday. Henrik Lundqvist will be 33 this year, and there is no telling how much longer he can be “The King”.
So, if the Rangers want to shed salary to be good in the long-term, they must trade a contract, prefereably a defenseman. Girardi seems to be the obvious choice, but his no-trade clause and declining play will make it difficult to move him. Kevin Klein is coming off of a career-year, and, if the Rangers are smart, they will cash in on his value being at an all-time high. Marc Staal just recently signed a big extension, so it is unlikely that he will be going anywhere.
The Rangers are in a tough spot right now. They have a plethora of players that need to get locked up next year, but they will most certainly not have the cap-space to do it. So, at some point, the Rangers are going to have to make a salary-dump, or they will risk losing a key piece for the future.
More from Blue Line Station
- Blake Wheeler’s Broadway Calling: Why He Chose the Rangers
- Rangers’ Playoff Redemption Recipe: Grit and Fresh Hopes
- Rangers’ Roster Chatter: Who’s Making the Cut and Who’s in the Penalty Box?
- Jacque Plante Trade Tree Between the Rangers and Canadiens
- These Rangers must learn Peter Laviolette’s ropes before they can fly