The decision to keep Brad Richards for another season left the New York Rangers without much wiggle room under the salary cap. Sure, New York is currently $14 million under the $64.3 million cap ceiling, but much of that will go toward retaining restricted free agents: Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin, Mats Zuccarello and Justin Falk.
According to Dave’s projections, we can expect McDonagh’s new cap hit to come in around $4 million to $4.5 million and Stepan’s to be between $3.5 million and $4 million. It’s probably a safe guess that Hagelin, Zuccarello and Falk will eat up a minimum of another $4 million. So even on the low side of things, the Rangers will need at least $11.5 million to keep their team intact.
That would leave the Blueshirts with somewhere around $2.5 million to do business over the coming weeks. More could open up if New York deals a depth forward like Darroll Powe, Taylor Pyatt or Arron Asham, but if the Rangers didn’t move any of them during the draft, it seems a little unlikely that they’ll do so now.
Remember that every team likes to keep at least a little cap space open for in-season moves and that the Rangers will have another host of key players to re-sign next summer and it becomes pretty unlikely that New York will be too active on the free agent market.
Deals for Falk and Danny Syvret this week brought the Rangers up to eight serviceable NHL defensemen, with Dylan McIlrath also waiting in the wings. So if the Rangers are going to spend on anything, it’ll probably be a winger. The likely absences of Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin to start the season leave the Rangers much shallower than they’d like and presently mean that New York will have to rely too heavily on prospects to fill significant roles out of the gate.
New York has a glut of bottom-six forwards, but most of them are best suited on the fourth line or rotating in and out of the press box. So if you see the Rangers do anything this weekend, it’ll probably be an attempt to shore up the wings, by signing a savvy veteran on a short deal.