Update 6:45pm: Per commenter Adam, he noted that only Staal is on LTIR, not Wolski. So the cap information here is irrelevant. Only roster space needs to be cleared. I still think Avery is the one to go, but it could be Erik Christensen as well.
The holiday roster freeze ends tomorrow, and the Rangers will have several moves to make to not only free up space for players returning from injury, but to free up the cap space that is required to activate those players. While most of the focus will be on the blue line –and rightfully so– there will be some movement among the forwards as well.
The roster move that is going to have major implications for the Rangers is the activation of Wojtek Wolski, who has been making significant progress on his sports hernia injury. He was skating earlier this month, and the rumors were that he could be back this week. That means his $3.8 million salary comes off LTIR, and the Rangers will need to clear space to get there.
The activation of Wolski also means that the Rangers will have 24 players on the roster, not including players on LTIR. The NHL roster limit is 23 players, so right there the Rangers have to make moves to get under that limit. Since there are 15 forwards on the roster right now, including Wolski, a forward will have to be demoted. To clear the cap space, only one roster move among the forwards needs to be made, and it’s the simple move of waiving Sean Avery (GASP!).
All sarcasm aside, waiving Avery is the only move that makes sense. It clears cap space and roster space for Wolski. It is the only move that can be made to clear enough room for Wolski. In fact, it may not be enough. Tim Erixon and his $1.75 million salary may also need to be returned to the CT Whale to make room.
Those two moves will leave the Rangers with 14 forwards and 6 defensemen on the roster. Now of course, it is going to be VERY interesting to see what the Rangers do to clear room for Marc Staal and his $3.975 million salary.