Using cap space as a trade asset

jeff gorton

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", 3 out of 5 based on 24 ratings.

48 thoughts on “Using cap space as a trade asset

  • Apr 17, 2018 at 7:11 am

    “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?”

    Really do we need to go down this road to make trades? I would use the cap space to get our RFA’s signed, and maybe go after a Carlson, or save it for a Saguin, rather than get back a few #3’s, and hope there is a gem in that round!!!!!

    I would walk away from deals like this unless we are going to toughen up our lineup to protect the kids…….

    • Apr 17, 2018 at 7:15 am

      “It wasn’t necessarily a very big surprise just because everything that’s been going on, the changes,” McDonagh said before his Tampa team took on the Devils in Newark on Monday night for Game 3 of their first-round series. “It just makes sense, if you’re going to go in a big different direction, you might as well start with a new coach at the same time. So I think you could kind of see it coming.”

      Quote from Mac Truck in today’s Post. Doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement from AV’s former captain does it???????

      • Apr 17, 2018 at 11:50 am

        Sure if you want it to fit your narrative that everyone hates AV. The way I read it was that first of all it’s business, second of all it’s a NY sport and with all the change going around than of course the HC got canned.

        If anything I would assume that he’s more piss at the club. Since he knew about the changes coming he probably wanted to captain the new squad.

        Lol go ask that guy who Torts took over as a CBJ coach. That’s one of the few times where I read about a team really feeling bad for the coach getting fired. I don’t think he got warm and fuzzy because read about his player’s like Dubi and Folingo feeling sorry for him. The worst part is that AV will bounce back alot faster than that guy, he’ll have a new team to coach with legit top line to work with.

        Sorry but hearing the expectations of the player’s tells me they at least believed in him at one point this season. Like I said he will get a job real soon and most likely will have a plethora of choices to pick The NYR took care of him, he’ll still be getting paid by us when he’s coaching a new team by next October.

        • Apr 17, 2018 at 3:27 pm

          For the record I take it as I like to, which is negative towards the clown AV.

          Secondly, he won’t be paid by us if he coaches another team, we are released from the contract. So read into this what you may!!!!!!!

      • Apr 22, 2018 at 12:33 pm

        IM. McDonagh was not a Captain material. I disagreed with that decision from the beginning The Rangers need a vocal guy who is going to be in his teammate’s face and hold them accountable. McD.was not that guy. Also his over use of the annoying AV’s frase looks instead of chances drove Me crasy.

    • Apr 18, 2018 at 8:45 am

      With all the draft picks the Rangers already have, why should they deal cap space for more of them. More likely to trade draft picks to move up in the draft.

  • Apr 17, 2018 at 7:31 am

    “I’m so happy to be here,” said Miller, who recorded 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in 19 regular-season games with the Lightning and had one assist in his team’s opening two victories in this series. “It’s a special team that has a great opportunity to win. Everyone here understands that and embraces that. I’m thrilled they wanted me.”

    “I don’t think it’s a secret that A.V. and I were not a great fit,” said Miller, who could never completely escape the doghouse despite the package of size, speed and physicality he embodies. “I’d say there are better fits for both of us.”

    Finally some truth about the way some players felt about AV. I still am awaiting any player to come out to defend the coach, have any ringing endorsement of him, or say how they will miss playing for him. I bet they are still airing out the locker room of the stench of AV’s bull sh*t!!!!!!!!!

    • Apr 17, 2018 at 1:40 pm

      He also said

      “It was never personal with A.V. and me. I never took it that way,” Miller said. “He taught me how to get through all the crap and become a player in this league. I have nothing bad to say about the Rangers or anyone there.

      At some point—move on already with the hate! You sound like the old man chasing kids off his lawn.

      • Apr 17, 2018 at 3:29 pm

        get off my lawn sonny boy!!!!!!!!!!

        • Apr 17, 2018 at 5:06 pm

          Hey, I’ll be 59 in July. To me, “sonny boy” is a compliment! (;

          • Apr 18, 2018 at 7:24 am

            then take it that way!!!!!!

      • Apr 22, 2018 at 12:36 pm

        I am that old guy. LOL.

    • Apr 18, 2018 at 6:13 am

      “I still am awaiting any player to come out to defend the coach, have any ringing endorsement of him, or say how they will miss playing for him.”

      None forthcoming Walt. All they said was that AV will somehow bounce back. No mention of it being the wrong move or that he will be missed.

      Kreider hated him and probably played better for 2 reasons: His appreciation for coming back after a serious illness and knowing full well that AV was gone.

      This BS that “no one knew” is just that. If I knew, then the team and AV knew. The rest is marketing blather.

      • Apr 18, 2018 at 7:26 am

        Well stated Tony, and the truth, even though some dislike our speaking that way!!!!!!!!!!

        • Apr 18, 2018 at 2:20 pm

          It is the truth bro.

        • Apr 19, 2018 at 6:29 am

          I see AV chimed in bro. lol

  • Apr 17, 2018 at 7:41 am

    Loving the positive Ranger updates!


  • Apr 17, 2018 at 7:57 am

    Another great post Dave.

    Most interesting position the Rangers are in. Cap space AND multiple picks, including a good number of high round picks. Very foreign to us Ranger fans.

  • Apr 17, 2018 at 8:11 am

    Gorton will package a bunch of these pick and it will be a mistake. The Bruins blueprint is what I would model my team after…from 2014 to last year…they loaded up on picks and used them all and it has paid off in a cup contender. These quick fixes never work. Now, I read of Kovy and JT and punting picks to move up or trade for 22 year olds….just a mistake IMO.

    • Apr 17, 2018 at 8:30 am

      When you load up on picks and they all mature at the same time, you will be in cap hell before you know it.

      Just look at Edmonton next season.

      It’s such a tightrope to walk.

      • Apr 17, 2018 at 8:57 am

        Very good point about relative age & RFA contracts.

      • Apr 17, 2018 at 10:33 am

        Totally agree!

        Also Boston had Chara, Bergeron, Marchand, Rask and Krejci – the backbone of the team that won Stanley cup (except Rask).. We don’t have that core of veteran leadership to lead the young players..

        • Apr 17, 2018 at 12:24 pm

          Ahaa they must have really wanted Stepan out. A 27 year old center with tons of experience in just about every situation that there is and yet his game still couldn’t convince the GM to stick around. I’m happy they saw through that BS because he’s no Bergeron and has never made a impact on a playoff run like Krecji did in 2011. I’m just upset that they gave B Smith that money and a chance to be apart of a new core. That’s how you build up a opposite foundation in the locker room from teams like the Bruins. You think Chara would come to camp out of shape? I bet nobody would swing on Marchand if got sent down to the minors.

          I think Hank is the closes thing to being something to look up to. MSL demanded that attention and McD comes in 3rd on leadership value.

      • Apr 17, 2018 at 1:50 pm

        No Reenavipul, we should be SO lucky to have that type of problem where all our picks mature to the point of them all requiring BIG long term deals at the same time. I would actually relish that and the headache of having to decide which one to flip for more assets. That’s called a good problem …

        The trick is to identify the players you want to move forward with and sign them to longer term contracts earlier rather than later — just like we did with McD … just like we should have done with Stepan (could have shaved at least $1m+ off his cap hit) — and that is regardless of whether or not we would want to move forward with the player down the line, or use that player as a trade chip.

        • Apr 17, 2018 at 3:00 pm

          I guess you haven’t read what I wrote (just below the very post you *just* wrote) a couple of hours ago. You would be thrilled, but I would be terrified if it was you making the call.

          • Apr 17, 2018 at 5:46 pm

            I don’t disagree with everything you’re saying, I’m just disagreeing about what a problem it might be to have all the draft choices bunched up — in fact bunching them up in say a period of 1-2 years isn’t a bad recipe for a relatively quick turn around. The staggering comes in most handy later, when you’re looking to grab 1 or 2 players every draft that you can plug into a team that is laden with guys in their prime.

            … but back to the issue at hand. In the first place not every player drafted necessarily works on the same schedule. One player might be college age and not even sign his ELC until the age of 20 or 21, whereas another draft choice might be playing on the team by the age of 19, etc. You get the point. Plus not every player drafted necessarily gets the same number of years. So a crafty GM can find ways to stagger contracts.

            More importantly though, not every draft pick is going to turn out in such a way that they’ll put you in cap hell. Again, we should be so lucky as to have 2, 3 or 4 players (out of 1 draft year) getting into their mid-20’s that merit $5m+ per season … or even to have 2 that might merit 7-8m+ by the time they’re entering into their prime. I guarantee you there isn’t a GM out there that would turn down the above scenario.

    • Apr 17, 2018 at 12:01 pm

      Why did you attach that signing Kovie and JT with the punting picks away to move up? I’m in the the boat that wants to see both those free agents signed and forget about moving anywhere in the draft. Then you can use those draft picks on a bunch of young winners who would help run the AHL team with Lettieri and them. Since this might be the closes time of getting a top 3 pick than flip Vesey, Names and Spooner for more draft picks would could be the way to go. Either way the elite free agents get signed and you restock the AHL team with quality in one scoop.

    • Apr 22, 2018 at 12:46 pm

      IMO. Gortons legacy will be established this year. Hi’s got a lot of options and we’ll see how he handles them.
      One thing is for sure, the Rangers need a bonified sniper who can put the puck in the net. They haven’t had one since Yagr. I’m sick of hearing Sam repeating “he shoots, it’s wide.”

  • Apr 17, 2018 at 8:28 am

    I’ll take Orpik’s deal if they cough up a 2nd straight up or a 1st in three years.

    Deferring draft assets have no loss of value.

    The asset the Rangers need to take greater advantage of is their cash flow to re-sign their RFAs to front loaded, signing bonus heavy deals that take them to year 30.

    It’s complicated, but as long as there’s no difference of 35% between seasons and the lowest season is at least half of the highest; you can structure it so that even a RFA you don’t actually want will have higher trade value than his production warrants because the actual contract comes in under the AAV, once you take out the year 1 signing bonus.

    The team is basically paying for extra assets and the CBA allows it. You lock in cost certainty and if the player doesn’t match output to AAV, the only thing lost was your deposit. I could see Toronto doing this with a bunch of their young guys who don’t fit Captain Lou’s vision of roster construction.

  • Apr 17, 2018 at 10:11 am

    A bit off topic but I noticed Oscar Lindberg isn’t even cracking the lineup in the Vegas playoffs. Anyone know if these are healthy scratches??? Jeesh.

    • Apr 17, 2018 at 10:20 am

      He is injured

      • Apr 17, 2018 at 11:57 am

        Thanks Leather. I guess I am glad that is the reason. Always felt he had a future as a solid 3rd of 4th line center.

        • Apr 17, 2018 at 12:06 pm

          I never saw him as a top 9 player. The last I heard was when LV was lighting up the league, he was in a bad scoring slump in the month of December. Certain fans seemed to be attracted to him for some reason.

          • Apr 17, 2018 at 5:51 pm

            Would you say the same thing about Grabner? He was quite good here, but he hasn’t played half as well with Devils. Different systems, different environments … can make the same player different. I for one though Lindberg showed a lot while he was here as a potential 3rd line anchor. There wasn’t one part of his game that was lacking — for that role. Certainly would have preferred him playing in that role than Desharnais — and it would have possibly freed up Hayes to play Top 6 minutes instead of being AV’s designated shutdown center.

  • Apr 17, 2018 at 10:30 am

    You put the CAP in the coconut and mix it all up!

  • Apr 17, 2018 at 10:38 am

    Vegas is a bad example, because they anyway had to get into cap minimum, talking about Arizona…… they are not good example for rebuild at all, even if we take hypothetical Orpik or so….. what we going to have 2nd round pick? and all this for trashing the roster….

    If team is serious about getting back to rails, it would be terrible decision to take somebody`s contract

    • Apr 17, 2018 at 11:44 am

      “If team is serious about getting back to rails, it would be terrible decision to take somebody`s contract”

      For 3-5 years, yes. For 1 year no.

      • Apr 17, 2018 at 11:54 am

        If team is about to spend 3-5 years to rebuild, I don’t think it’s not going to rebuild ever 🙂 It’s going to be then disaster similar to Arizona

        • Apr 17, 2018 at 12:26 pm

          Eating someone else’s bad contract for 3-5 years is stupid, rebuild or not. One year isn’t when you are rebuilding.

          Same goes for Kovy.

    • Apr 17, 2018 at 12:54 pm

      If Arizona had Raanta for the 1st month and played even anything close to .500 hockey, they would’ve finished the year with 82 points, trending in the right direction and drafting behind the Isles.

      Instead, they went 1-12 in October and their fate was sealed. They went in development mode, dealt assets like Duclair to set themselves up to turn the corner that much faster.

      Point is, when the wheels come off and you’re headed to the ditch, the fancy shoes ain’t gonna help much.

      Enough of that, back to game 1 of the Finnish league final. For those without a Ruutu subscription, try onhockey dot tv and deploy your adblockers and NoScript defenses beforehand.

      Swedish final starts 1:30 EST

    • Apr 22, 2018 at 12:54 pm

      What is all that hype for Orpik? He is a marginal NHL player at best. The only thing he’s got is muscle. So unless you are ready give up valuable asset to get a marginal player, I would not even discuss Orpik.

  • Apr 17, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    I would rather use the cap space in the other direction. See if that same Toronto team, that will have trouble signing everyone will give up one for our first round pick. Who knows, maybe they decide Nylander is the odd man out, and offer him up. Look, is this a low level possibility, yes, but there are teams out there in the same predicament, who might choose between 3 good assets that they cannot sign long term.

    Edmonton is going to have the same problem. Sooner or later they need to decide if they can afford 3 8 year contracts averaging $8.5M each. Some teams may want the extra early round pick as well as a bargain player (Zucc comes to mind).

    Just sayin…..

    • Apr 17, 2018 at 1:33 pm

      Toronto has $25mm in cap space going into next season, even without an increase in the cap. Even the year after, they’ll have another $13mm to take care of Matthews.

      Edmonton has $12.6mm next year with a handful of RFAs and only Darnell Nurse is going to get more than $1mm. If anything, they’re buyers.

      • Apr 17, 2018 at 3:09 pm

        $25M with 3 guys who want $8M contracts. They cannot sign them all. They might not need cap relief immediately, but they will in year 2 as $13M is nothing with the youth they have coming up.

        Then lets take Buffalo for example. THey currently have about $10M available. Next year they have 6 UFAs and 4 RFAs. Even if they want to keep half, they will have Cap issues. Now Buffalo probably needs to clean house anyway, but moving as asset for extra Cap space couldn’t hurt.

        • Apr 17, 2018 at 3:48 pm

          There’s Nylander, Connor Carrick and Andreas Johnsson who are RFA’s this year. Those three aren’t getting $8mm combined. That leaves you w/ $18mm to fill out with 1 year contracts and ELCs, which gives you $12mm in cap room.

          Marner, Matthews and Kapanen are 2 years away. One of those guys will get North of $10mm(the max is $16mm if cap goes to $80mm), the other 2 will get $8mm combined. They’ll cost you $24mm max in a year where they’ll have probably $30-33mm in cap space.

          • Apr 17, 2018 at 6:02 pm

            Have to basically agree with you that the Maple Leafs should be fine cap-wise, but I think Marner will come pretty close to commanding $8m on a long term 8 year deal — which is what the Maple Leafs should sign him for, he’s a keeper. — and Nylander will not be far off Marner’s numbers.

            • Apr 18, 2018 at 8:58 am

              I am telling you, the Leafs and Sabres will have Cap trouble in 2 years. If they wait until 2020 to make moves, they will have to make some really tough choices.

              I think you forget everyone wants a raise on a playoff team. Not a problem for Buffalo.

            • Apr 18, 2018 at 10:01 am

              They’re RFAs not eligible for arbitration. The only thing they can command is more ketchup for their fries.

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