Ahead of this summer, the New York Rangers will have a lot to do with their free agents. Filip Chytil, K’Andre Miller, Vladimir Tarasenko, Patrick Kane, and Tyler Motte will all be expiring on July 1st. It will be an interesting off-season for the Blueshirts and their management. Time will tell what happens with the Blueshirts as deadlines approach and pressure is put on the players, agents, and Rangers’ management.
When I was hovering around the forums on CapFriendly, I noticed a ton of people coming up with the idea of an offer sheet for Alexis Lafreniere. Due to the sheer number of players the Rangers would need to replace or renew deals with, they are in a shaky situation if someone was to go the route of an offer sheet. Lafreniere being a former first-overall pick with all the rumors swirling since he was scratched will get this buzz.
With a projected $16 million in cap space, somewhere between 7 and 10 players needing to be added to the payroll, and the possibility of re-signing some of the new additions to the roster leaves the Rangers in a difficult situation. If we set aside half of the available cap space for the combination of Chytil and Miller, that leaves 8 million for 5 more roster spots and the 3 extras.
If someone was to come in and offer $6 million a year for Lafreniere, the Rangers would be in a difficult position trying to match that offer, and they’d only get a 1st and a 3rd for him in compensation. If they did match it and used the 10% leeway on the salary cap that you get in the summer, it would force the Rangers to have to move out someone like Barclay Goodrow just to retain the services of Lafreniere ahead of the new season.
It could strap the ability of the Blueshirts to sign additional aid to the roster if they were to match. They’d only get a 1st and a 3rd in next year’s draft as compensation, and it is unlikely that they would be able to use those picks to add anyone who could bring what Alexis Lafreniere does at such a cheap cap hit. It seems like a scenario where there is no good outcome for New York.
Offer sheets will always sour relations between the fans, the organization, and the player. We’ve seen with Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s recent offer sheet chaos between Carolina and Montreal that it created a lot of problems in the relationship between the former third-overall pick and the team that drafted him, despite becoming a fan favorite in his new home. If Lafreniere is willing to do that then there’s no issue but he’d damage the psyche of every Ranger fan.
Whether or not anyone opts to go for the poison chalice that is an offer sheet, we will have to wait and see, but it is clear that the Rangers would not have an easy time matching it if someone was to go down that road. It would likely sour relationships between that organization and the Rangers for the foreseeable future. Hopefully, we don’t see it and the Rangers off-season is a peaceful endeavor, but you learn to never say never when talking about this league.