Ahead of the summer, the New York Rangers have very limited cap space. Finding players that are going to carry smaller cap hits but provide more in production and what they bring off the ice is going to be the task handed to Chris Drury. Whether or not he is able to finally put all the pieces in place or not is going to depend on how well he flushes out the depth. Not just up front but on the blueline too.
This is important because we can all see the holes up front left by the departing Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrick Kane, but the void left by Niko Mikkola will need to be filled too if Zachary Jones is not capable of stepping into the role full-time next season. However, the blatant holes as I mentioned are up front and it’s going to be a difficult task for Drury this summer to figure everything out with the current cap instability.
If we assume that the Rangers are going to move Barclay Goodrow this summer, that would give them $15 million in cap space. With Alexis Lafreniere and K’Andre Miller among the players that will need new deals in terms of the restricted free agents, the team will not have a lot of room. Let’s take the under on both RFA deals and assume the Rangers sign them both for a combined $5 million. That’s only $10 million in cap space.
New York would be able to exceed the salary cap by 10% during the summer if they need to clear out more room to make the money work ahead of next year. It’s basically a form of kicking the can down the road, but it has the added side effect of everyone knowing you’re desperate when it comes to sorting the money out and having to pay more to fix everything if you overspend so the budget for Drury is very important.