Projecting the Rangers’ salary cap issues beyond next season

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Artemi Panarin #10 of the New York Rangers and Filip Chytil #72 celebrate

The salary cap for next season had been projected to increase to about $84 million, a number that worked for the New York Rangers. How does their cap situation look beyond next season?

Let’s make one thing clear.  The salary cap for next season is up the air along with everything else related to professional sports.   With a cap of $81.5 million this season, let’s stick with the $84 million estimate moving forward and use that number for 2021-22.  When it comes to the New York Rangers, it’s more important to know how much they have committed contractually. 

The 2021-22 season

For cap purposes, the Rangers have been looking forward to the 2021-22 season for years.  It’s the season that they are free from the contracts of Henrik Lundqvist, Marc Staal and Brendan Smith and the big buyout hit for Kevin Shattenkirk. It means that $23.2 million they are committed to next season will come off the books.

While this will be an improvement, the team still has to be careful in how they spend their money. They will have six players on the current roster under contract and 12 players within the organization signed.  The problem is that there is a lot of money committed to four Rangers:

Artemi Panarin    $11.6 million
Jacob Trouba     $ 8 million
Chris Kreider   $ 6.5 million
Mika Zibanejad  $5.35 million

The last two players under contract are on the last year of their entry level deals and we are going to assume that Vitali Kravtsov will be on the roster as well:

Adam Fox  $925k
Kaapo Kakko   $925k
Vitali Kravtsov  $925k

So, the team has committed $34.2 million for those seven players.

They will have six players who will be in a cost controlled scenario, meaning they are restricted free agents with very little leverage.  Those players are Filip Chytil, Julien Gauthier, Libor Hajek, Brett Howden, Ryan Lindgren and Lias Andersson, They will have three other RFA’s who will be arbitration eligible including Igor Shesterkin, Adam Huska and Yegor Rykov.

When it comes to restricted free agents with no arbitration rights, it’s completely legitimate to project their being signed for about $1 million per year. As for the three who can go to arbitration, only Shesterkin will command a big increase.

There is one arbitration eligible restricted free agent on the team in Pavel Buchnevch who will be looking for an increase in his $3.25 million salary.

Adding in the committed salaries, the RFA’s and a nominal increase for Buchnevich (to $4 million) the Rangers are sitting at about  $50 million with almost $34 million to spend.

But they will not have $34 million as there is another group we should call the question marks.  These players are RFA’s after this season, all arbitration eligible and facing an unknown future with the team.   They include Tony DeAngelo, Ryan Strome, Brendan Lemieux, Alexandar Georgiev and Phil Di Giuseppe along with UFA Jesper Fast.  The Rangers will have an interesting time fitting all of these players under the cap this summer, especially if it isn’t as high as the projected $84 million number.

For projections sake, let’s assume the team re-signs them all except Fast for a total of $14 million.   That gives the team a commitment of $64.2 million plus another $2.54 million in buyout related expenses for a total of  about $67 million.

So, what will the 2021-22 roster look like?

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