The Rangers are in a situation that we’ve never seen before. Always strapped for cash, the Rangers have never had the luxury of breathing room and flexibility to make trades. However heading into the offseason, the Rangers have oodles of cap space, with plenty to spare once they sign their key RFAs.
Cap space is an interesting thing. The Rangers have never had any, so it’s been a scarce commodity. However for teams with plenty of it, it’s been an asset. The Isles landed Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy for basically nothing. The Coyotes acquired Chris Pronger and Pavel Datsyuk –both retired and with big cap hits– with prospects to help teams free up space. Vegas did the same in the expansion draft. Now, it might be the Rangers’ turn.
Assuming the cap ceiling gets to the rumored $80 million, the Rangers have a whopping $30 million to work with. Even if you assume $20 million goes to their RFAs, that leaves $10 million (!!) to work with. That can go a long way. Heck, they’ve done it already by acquiring Matt Beleskey in the Rick Nash deal, something that probably was needed to ensure they can get Ryan Spooner in the deal. But let’s have some fun with this, bearing in mind I have no idea how to frame any of these trades. Take it with a grain of salt.
Washington is in desperate need of cap space. They have just $10 million –$15 million if it’s an $80 million cap– to work with, and will need to re-sign John Carlson, in addition to some of their other FAs. The Caps are a win-now team, and Brooks Orpik’s deal (one year with $5.5 million remaining) seems like one they could do without in their quest to keep their team together. I’m not saying they go this route, but perhaps they make the choice of 27 year old Carlson over 37 year old Orpik. Would you take Orpik’s full contract and a 2nd for, say, Boston’s third? I might.
How about Toronto, who will need to ink William Nylander, Mitch Marner, and Auston Matthews to big deals pretty soon. They might want to shed that Matt Martin contract and its two years at $2.5 million per year. Would you take on that deal if it included a pair of third round picks?
Those are just two obvious examples, but you never know what this summer brings. Having cap space just adds another asset to the Blueshirts’ arsenal as they enter the offseason. I, for one, would love to see Jeff Gorton use cap space to his advantage and try to land additional top picks for bad contracts. He did it once with Beleskey, so he might just do it again."Using cap space as a trade asset",