While it is very early and the Rangers still have to get through the Playoffs before the offseason hits, there is no doubt that the Rangers are going to be in some cap trouble this summer. With the salary cap likely only rising a million instead of three or four, the Rangers are going to be tight for money when they enter the offseason.
With three key players in Alexis Lafreniere, K’Andre Miller, and Filip Chytil needing new deals and with Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko becoming UFA’s, the Rangers will need to make choice on who they want to sign and who they might have to get rid of in order to make that space.
As of today, the Rangers will have about $16 million in cap space this summer to sign those key players. With Lafreniere, we can expect him to take a similar bridge deal to the ones that Kakko and Chytil signed after their ELCs expired. So in the range of about 2.3 to 2.5 million. That leaves them with 14.5 million to sign Chytil and Miller.
So if we think that Chytil gets around 4.5 million and Miller gets around 4 million, that would leave the Rangers with around 6.5 million to fill out the rest of the roster. Now, this would be the best-case scenario for all of these players. If they all signed around these numbers, this could leave the Rangers with some room to sign more players to fill out the roster.
But, we have no idea what they could sign for. If they sign for more, this will leave the team with less money and less room to work with.
When the Rangers traded for Kane and Tarasenko, it helped them fill out their top-six right-wing holes. The only true right-winger on this team is Kakko. If both players decide to test free agency, the Rangers will once again have to fill the holes in the top six on the right side. However, if the RFAs’ take more team-friendly deals and if one of Kane or Tarasenko takes a team-friendly deal, the Rangers could be able to fit them in.
At this point in their careers, both players do not need to play for the money anymore. Kane has made over 100 million in his career and Tarasenko has made over 60 million in his career. If they feel like they can win in New York and they liked playing here, they could take a discount to stay. However, if the team does get into a cap crunch, the Rangers may have to look to trade players on their roster.
The two players who have been talked about most in these rumors are Barclay Goodrow and Ryan Lindgren. This is because both players do not have full no-trade protection. Goodrow does have a 15-team no-trade list, but he could be traded if the team needs to make space. If it came down to trading either Lindgren or Goodrow, it would make more sense to keep Lindgren due to the fact that this team needs defense, and when he is out of the lineup, the defense starts to crumble.
If he is traded, it could cause a problem in the locker room. If Goodrow gets traded, it would hurt the locker room, but they have guys who could sign guys who are cheaper than Goodrow and who can play the same style that he plays. Jimmy Vesey plays that kind of style and he makes almost league minimum. If it comes down to it, it would be easier to part with Goodrow than it would with Lindgren.
We are months away from any of these decisions being made, but it is always a good idea to look ahead and see where this team will be in the future. They need to lock up their young players and if the top-end veterans want to take a discount, you can try and keep them as well. If they don’t want to stay, it’s going to be another summer of trying to fill the holes and hopefully, it won’t cost the team a key player, and let’s hope they can see the roster intact.