The New York Rangers have had Patrick Kane on their radar for a while. In fact, for the past week, Kane has essentially been a Ranger.
So what’s the hold-up? Well, the Rangers don’t have the cap space. Or they do, but not yet.
If it sounds confusing, that’s because it is. Long story short, New York must accrue the cap space required to fit Kane’s salary at 25 percent under the salary cap.
The recent transaction of sending Braden Schneider down to AHL Hartford is part of the gymnastics to help accrue cap space.
But all of this is brought to you by the hard cap the NHL has instituted since the 2005-06 season.
All of the unnecessary shenanigans currently going on with this Rangers squad are due to the fact that there is an arbitrary (or not so) number that determines how much money teams in the NHL can spend.
An absurd operation
A player who is more or less part of the Rangers organization when New York and Chicago have likely already made a deal cannot participate because of this salary cap.
As of right now, Kane is home, not playing hockey. The Rangers are unable to acquire him until they have racked up enough cap space, which will likely be Wednesday or Thursday.
Chicago does not want to risk injury with Kane, and understandably so, but an abolishment of the cap would resolve all of this nonsense.
There would be no need to sit Kane indefinitely until a trade is able to be made.
There would be no reason to dress Schneider and Ryan Carpenter on Sunday against the Kings, only for Schneider to not set foot on the ice and Carpenter to participate for just 13 seconds.
This, by the way, is also due to the cap gymnastics the Rangers must navigate in order to acquire Kane.
Should Carpenter and Schneider have played on Sunday and one or both got hurt, New York would not be able to send the players down to Hartford, and thus not accrue the necessary cap space.
The Rangers are not the only team to suffer the consequences of having too many good players.
The Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup in 2020-21 with a roster that was $18 million over the salary cap.
Star forward Nikita Kucherov sat for the entire season, and a portion where he was healthy, simply to keep the team beneath the cap.
It is absurd that teams must juggle these circumstances to avoid a penalty.
If the argument is to bring parody to the NHL, I would invite any supporter of the cap to look at the current situation of the Arizona Coyotes, San Jose Sharks, and Philadelphia Flyers
Each of those teams is bad, and certain contracts that may be considered an albatross make it near impossible for the teams to improve.
Or in the case of the Coyotes, it is simply a disastrous situation from the top down.
The NBA uses a soft cap, in which teams must pay a certain fee in order to spend above the league’s salary cap.
Perhaps that would be a good plan for the NHL. At this point, it seems as though any plan is better than the one the NHL is currently operating under.
Kane will be a New York Ranger, he just should have already been one a week ago.