The NHL buyout window will open on September 25. This date was set following the conclusion of the Conference Final last night. The buyout window will run through October 8, which is the day before free agency begins.
Rumors swirled earlier this week that the Rangers are going to use a buyout on Henrik Lundqvist. While there are no true confirmations yet, there are legitimate arguments both for and against the buyout. All signs are pointing towards this buyout.
The Rangers also have decisions to make with Marc Staal and Brendan Smith. Neither is really being forced out by younger and –at this point in their careers– better players, but their cap hits represent a problem in a flat cap.
Planning for Beyond This Season
Well run teams plan well beyond the coming season. Something like the flat cap may alter some plans, but shouldn’t alter them too much. Given how Jeff Gorton has run the rebuild thus far, it’s safe to assume he had a plan coming into this offseason.
The flat cap and a pair of lottery winnings may have altered the plans. There’s a case to be made that the flat cap accelerated the rebuild faster than the lottery winnings did. It’s forcing a decision into their hands that they probably knew they had to make, but didn’t want to.
It’s unlikely the Rangers use a buyout the day the NHL buyout window opens. They will likely see how the draft plays out. Negotiations with RFAs and Jesper Fast need to run their course. The market for Alex Georgiev, if there is one, needs to be evaluated. They have time, and will make the best decision possible.