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Rangers lack cap room now, but are positioned well for next summer

Glen Sather should have plenty of financial flexibility next summer

Whether the Rangers re-sign Mats Zuccarello or not, they’re going to be right up against the salary cap ceiling when the 2013-2014 season opens.  Things are tight financially for New York right now, but 12 months from now the situation will be very different.

According to CapGeek, the Rangers have barely over $27 million in cap payroll committed to 2014-2015, more than $37 million below the current $64.3 million salary cap.  A chunk of that will go toward Derek Stepan’s new contract, potentially one for Zuccarello and likely a contract extension for Henrik Lundqvist over the coming weeks.  But even factoring in those deals, the Blueshirts should have a ton of money to work with heading into next offseason.  Lundqvist’s substantial cap hit will largely be negated by the certain Brad Richards buyout, and there are also whispers that league executives expect the cap ceiling to begin steadily climbing up, perhaps as high as $80 million within the next few years.

Of course, there’s that much space potentially available because only Richards, Rick Nash, Carl Hagelin, Derek Dorsett, Ryan McDonagh and Marc Staal are under contract beyond this season.  And unlike this summer, when every free agent of consequence was restricted, next summer several key Rangers could become unrestricted free agents, free to sign with any team in the league.

Among them: Lundqvist, Ryan Callahan and Dan Girardi.  Key RFAs include Derick Brassard, Chris Kreider, Michael Del Zotto, John Moore and Danny Kristo.

Re-signing each of those players figures to be a priority and easily doable given the plethora of cap space, but the future of most of the rest of the roster is much less clear.

Of the other UFAs – Brian Boyle, Taylor Pyatt, Benoit Pouliot, Darroll Powe, Dominic Moore, Arron Asham, Anton Stralman and Marty Biron – none are given, or even likely, to be Blueshirts beyond this season.

Indeed, there figures to be far more roster turnover next summer than we’ve seen over the last couple offseasons.  There don’t appear to be many roster spots available for youngsters this year, but the performances of key prospects this season should have a direct impact on New York’s plan next summer.  Depending on who the Rangers decide to retain, they could also have a substantial amount of cash to chase one of the many appealing UFAs from other teams that could hit the market.

These decisions will be dictated by how the team performs this season, but the Rangers should have the financial flexibility to retool as they see fit next summer.

31 Responses to “Rangers lack cap room now, but are positioned well for next summer”

  1. Chris F says:

    After (hopefully) re-signing Stepan and Zuccarello, how could the Rangers possibly have any cap room to offer Lundqvist a contract extension this summer? Such an extension will undoubtedly come with a significant per year raise. Or would the extension not affect Hank’s salary this upcoming season since it is already under an existing contract?

    • Walt says:

      Hank’s contract would be an extention of his current agreement, but won’t go into effect until the 2014-15 season!

    • Centerman21 says:

      they can give him whatever they want to. He is signed this year so any extension wouldn’t go into effect until after this coming league year. The problem though is if he wants the house, it will affect how the Rangers can go after players to put around him.

  2. Walt says:

    Why does everyone insist that Boyle will be history after this season?? I can see him re-signed for another few years, at a reduced rate. Also, no way are they going to allow Callie to walk, he is the heart, and soul of this team.

    • Zen says:

      Boyle might not even be on the team THIS season. Walt, please realize that Brian will be an UFA, which means it will take more money than normal to re-sign the guy. Other teams will see the size, grit, and history of goal-scoring and give him a long term deal and a raise on the $1.7M he makes now. He is not worth that kind of dough, let alone worth a raise.

      • Chuck A says:

        Think Brandon Prust

      • Centerman21 says:

        He’s got the size and can work on the PK. Along with being a good face off guy he is a heart and soul player. Good for the locker room. However I think grit is missing from his game. I think for a guy his size he should be able to push most players in the NHL around how and when he wants. He fails to do this and what goals does he score. I like Boyle but aside from the one year he has failed to live up to expectations. Some say that one year has hurt him in the eyes of the fans. I wish he would be a little smarter with the puck in the neutral zone too.

  3. bill_goldthorpe says:

    i love retreads; marian gaborik part due!

  4. Zen says:

    I’m calling it now… “Joe Thornton”. Nash and his close buddy will finally be able to play together.

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      No thank you. 35 and most likely going to get a longer than necessary term.

    • Walt says:

      Who needs a guy who has never played well in the play offs, keep him, give me Boyle!

  5. WilliamW says:

    I’m hoping for Kessel personally

    I’d imagine both Boyle and Stralman could be back of the “other UFAs”. If you view Boyle as a goal scorer you’ll be disappointed, but the rest of his game makes him valuable, in my view worth the1.7 he makes and maybe a bit more. Stralman never gets discussed but is a very solid member of the team

    • bill_goldthorpe says:

      Kessel is going to get PAID entirely too much for a guy who plays in one zone.

      • Centerman21 says:

        Where did Gaborik play and the Rangers gave him big money in a time they centered around defense. After this season there will be big changes. Once Vineault gets a look and has input on who stays and who goes. There will be a changing of the guard in NY.

  6. Bloomer says:

    Right on Walt, why do readers keep throwing Boyle under the bus? He is a monster shut down center and that is a hard thing to find. He comes cheap at 1.7 million. I rather have 4 Boyles on my team then 1 floating non-back or body checking Richards.

    • Randy says:

      I am a fan of Boyle, he is a good player and an even better guy to have in the locker room. His size enables him to be a beast in the corners and shut down a lot of solid players, but he sometimes lacks the killer instinct that a player of his size should have. We have all seen him play when he uses his size the way he should, and that is a player possibly worth more than 1.7 mil, but he is too inconsistent and soft the majority of the time. All that being said, I would like to see Boyle this season and see how he does with a new coach, because he and Torts had a pretty unique relationship. But I would just like to see 1 Boyle, because if we had 4 Boyles, I am not sure we would win 5 games. Richie has a tough season last year, but he was still 3rd on the team in points and I would definitely prefer him over 1,2,3, or 4 boyles.

    • Walt says:

      Thanks, especially reguarding Richards!!

    • scrangersfan says:

      I agree with you Bloomer.

    • HARLEMBLUES says:

      What is Boyle’s +/- the Last 3yrs? He can go.If you’re that big,slow and don’t bang you must score.

  7. Frank Cerbone says:

    Can’t see Girardi leaving as UFA next season. The guy NEVER misses a game and until McIlrath gets here, our most physical and toughest defenseman.

    Staal is the most likely to get out of here.

    Plus, another poor year from 2012 #1 pick finesse defenseman Brady Skjei and he’s no longer a prospect. The word on Skjei has always been “hit him early in the game and he disappears”. In addition to the absence of anything resembling a physical game, Skjei has ABSOLUTELY NO OFFENSIVE SKILLS (3rd lowest point total on his team).

    Hard to believe that idiot Gordie Clark referred to Skjei prior to the 2012 NHL draft as “a horse”.

    Hard to believe Gordie Clark didn’t believe any of the scouting reports on Skjei or Jessiman

    • WilliamW says:

      WAY too early to give up on Skjei

      A WJC camp invite and a greater role this year at Minnesota should give him the chance to prove what he can do

      Reports from the prospect camp were all positive and Gordie Clark certainly knows what he is doing

      • Centerman21 says:

        I love when fans say things like that idiot Clark or that moron Sather for a bad pick or for taking a flyer on a player they think will become an NHLer. Every GM in the league has made those decisions and had some 1st rounders fail and some 5th rounders play on their team. It’s a crapshoot. For any fan to say that Idiot is a fool themselves. They have no idea the amount of work that goes into picking a player at the Entry Draft. Nor do they have a clue how to pick NHL talent themselves. So “That Idiot” that said that is an Idiot themself

    • Tim B says:

      “Staal is the most likely to get out of here.” So tell me why MDZ’s not the most likely to get out of there? He has been included in trade proposals multiple times. Remember the Bobby Ryan trade proposal? When have we heard rumors of Staal getting traded besides to be with his brothers in Carolina? None. If anyone, MDZ will be gone first. He hasnt played at the level management expected him to be at.

    • scrangersfan says:

      Of all the years that Gordie Clark have been with the Rangers,I have not heard one negative comment about his abilities as a scout. I for one have the greatest respect for the man. Look what he did for the redwings when he worked for them.
      All I can say to you Frank Cerbone that takes an idiot to know an idiot.

    • Centerman21 says:

      You see all the thumbs down that went into your comment. 1st of all Girardi has a ton of mileage on him and the team may not wanna pay him past his 30th birthday. He is the least likely to be resigned out of the group of defensive UFA’s. Brady Skjei is a young kid who has has 1 year of NCAA experience. That does not mean he is a failure nor does it mean that if he has another year like last, that he is a failure. Or that the Rangers will give up on him. The Rangers may give him another 4-5 years if they have to. Defenseman historically take longer to be NHL regulars. You wouldn’t know that tho would you. If there was so much negative scouting on Skjei then why was he rated in the top 30 North American skaters list? Gordie Clark is a great judge of hockey talent and every NHL GM has had a Jessiman. You just don’t hear about all of them or any of them.
      Go get some work with an NHL franchise scouting and pick a winner at an Entry Draft before you call a guy in the bussiness 30 years an idiot.

  8. Chuck says:

    Flexibility is great, but if this summer was any indication, prices will be ridiculously high for UFAs. Therefore, we will have to “flex” our flexibility with prudence. Furthermore, as the season unfolds I hope we can target and lock up players before the UFA market goes bonkers so prices comps aren’t insane. Don’t know if team policy is to not negotiate extensions during the season, but it would be nice if that wasn’t the case this year.

    Bottom line, I just pray Slats swallows a few chill pills before opening Dolan’s checkbook. His track record speaks for itself.

  9. Andrew says:

    Sedin brothers back with AV please?

  10. DaNk75 says:

    @Andrew – Keep those Sedin twins the heck away from the Rangers….@TimB – i can see Staal going too, before MDZ. This year is huge, as far as determining what players will stay/go. Let’s see how MDZ does with a more offensive coach before deciding his fate. **Can’t wait to see the kids under AV’s system!

  11. Centerman21 says:

    I think the Cap is going to be on the high end come the 14/15 season. The NHL had record HRR despite the Lockout. They are planning a ton of outdoor games next year and every one of them will generate interest and with that comes revenue. The thing I wanna know is if the teams that use their buyouts next summer will effect the salary cap. Since they too come out of the players share of the total league revenue. Or is it the ones used this summer that will effect the cap.