While we wait for the Tony DeAngelo and Brendan Lemieux contracts to be signed, there is very little else to do in the hockey world. August is a dead month really. But I do have some thoughts.
1. As it stands right now, the Rangers have $1 million in cap space with Lemieux and DeAngelo unsigned. It also accounts for 14 forwards and 6 defensemen on the roster. When the Rangers waive Matt Beleskey and one of Boo Nieves or Greg McKegg, that number jumps to $2.7 million or so. More than enough money to sign both RFAs. I don’t think holdouts are going to happen.
2. I mentioned this a few times, but the Rangers have a very easy October schedule, playing three games in the first two weeks of the season. With the way cap space is accrued, I would not be surprised to see the Rangers go with a 12F/6D/2G roster in those first two weeks to accrue some additional cap space. This will help at the deadline, but also when dealing with injuries. Cap space calculations are tricky, especially in season.
3. Another outlet has ranked the Rangers as the best prospect system in the league, and this time it’s a biggie. Elite Prospects is one of the better sites out there, and JD Burke is a great prospect writer. Still waiting on Corey Pronman’s rankings for The Athletic, but I expect that to be another top-three finish for the Rangers as well.
4. One thing to note about prospect rankings is that it is all subjective and extremely volatile. Prospects graduate out of prospecthood often, which impacts rankings. The Rangers still have a ton of high ceiling guys that haven’t played in the NHL yet, and thus are prospects. However kids like Brett Howden, Lias Andersson, and Filip Chytil have played enough NHL games that they miss the threshold. But that doesn’t mean they have reached their ceiling. They still have a ton of growth left in them as well.
5. The Chris Kreider situation has taken a back seat for now. It’s August, after all. I don’t think his situation is connected to the RFA deals, but I do think the club wanted to wait until they had the big players lined up for this season, plus the Kevin Shattenkirk buyout. Assuming an $84 million cap, the Rangers have $19.6 million in cap space with 7F/6D/2G signed. That number fluctuates based on ELCs moving up and down. Assuming Smith is in Ottawa and the Rangers have at least two additional ELCs on the roster, that moves it to 8F/6D/2G with $22.6 million in cap space. Kreider at $7 million is doable without putting the Rangers in a crunch next season. The years after – that’s tough to gauge.
6. The left defense is a bit of a train wreck this season. But right defense is actually pretty solid. Jacob Trouba-Tony DeAngelo-Adam Fox is great offensively with minimal defensive liabilities. Sure DeAngelo is a little rough in his own end, but as one of the best transition defensemen in the game, he makes up for it. That’s half the job done, need to work on the other half."Wednesday Rangers thoughts",