As news about the potential flat NHL salary cap spreads, the rumors about the league granting teams amnesty buyouts to stay cap compliant grow. The Rangers have a history of using their amnesty buyouts, using it all three times the option was available:
This time around would be no different, and the Blueshirts really only have four options: Henrik Lundqvist (one year, $8.5 million cap hit), Marc Staal (one year, $5.7 million), Brendan Smith (one year, $4.35 million), and Jaocb Trouba (seven years, $8 million). Remember an amnesty buyout removes the full cap hit without penalty, unlike the Dan Girardi and Kevin Shattenkirk buyouts.
I polled the BSB team about who the Rangers should use their compliance buyout on, if that comes to fruition, and why not some of the others. Believe it or not, we didn’t all see eye to eye*.
Tyler: Staal. Not Hank because you’re stacked in goalie prospects but they’re still magic beans. Keep him as a backup or 1A/1B with Igor Shesterkin and trade Alex Georgiev for extra left side defensive help. My head says Lundqvist because of the cap hits, but it’s clear Hank is far better at his age at his position than Staal at his age and position. And my heart says Lundqvist needs a proper retirement tour
Rob L: Staal. Anything else is a cap play and it would cost more to replace anyone else other than Staal (because you gain the most by replacing him with an average player).
Conall: Has to be Staal. I also think you can make a strong case for Trouba given the RD depth and that Staal, Hank, and Smith are all guaranteed off the books after next season.
Rob C: I could absolutely see it being Lundqvist, and it is kind of defensible… but it should absolutely be Staal.
Justin: I think it honestly makes the most amount of sense to amnesty Staal and keep Lundqvist, for a couple reasons. 1) Staal’s subtraction is an addition, 2) Lundqvist would be a useful mentor/backup to Shesterkin, 3) Georgiev most likely has more value in a trade than either a retained Lundqvist or on-ice production as Shesterkin’s back up, and 4) you can avoid a PR issue by doing right by a franchise icon
Dave: It has to be Staal for me. Smith at $2.35 million of actual cash vs. $4.35 million cap hit has value, so that eliminates him. Georgiev+ at the draft for something significant is something I firmly believe in, so leave Hank as the backup and don’t deal with the PR nightmare. DeAngelo to the left side, paired with Trouba, makes the most sense as a top pair right now. That leaves Staal. If the Rangers are able to amnesty buyout Staal and trade Smith, it frees up $10 million in cap space.