Is Tyler Motte one of the acceptable Rangers RW targets in a surprising role?

Remember when the Rangers were supposed to re-sign Tyler Motte? That was originally reported by Mollie Walker at the end of June. It is now August 4, Motte is still unsigned, and the Rangers don’t have much cap space to work with. So is Motte going to sign elsewhere? Can the Rangers even afford him anymore?

The Rangers currently have $1 million in cap space, per CapFriendly, with 12 forwards and 7 defensemen on the roster. This doesn’t include Vitali Kravtsov, but it does include Julien Gauthier. It’s fair to assume we will have a swap of the two of them, with Gauthier likely to be traded and Kravtsov projected for a top nine roster spot. Both cap hits are the same.

Bear in mind that figure also includes Zac Jones, but not Nils Lundkvist. Much like Gauthier and Kravtsov, they carry identical cap hits. The $1 million in cap space does not include Brennan Othmann.

In theory, the Rangers certainly have the room to re-sign Motte to around $1 million, but that is a 33% pay cut for Motte, who made $1.45 million in actual salary last season ($1.225 million cap hit). It’s assumed Motte wants a raise, and the Rangers simply cannot afford it right now.

Also remember that even if Motte takes $1 million, that leaves the Rangers with $8,000 cap space, more or less. That isn’t enough room for injury call ups, which they will need throughout the season.

Clearing space for Tyler Motte isn’t a given

The only viable way to be able to afford Motte at the moment is to hope Ryan Reaves retires. There are certainly other more drastic methods, but they don’t seem realistic. To be fair, Reaves retiring isn’t realistic either, it’s just the most realistic of the not realistic options. If that makes any sense.

As much as we love Motte, paying a premium for a fourth liner isn’t the best way to build a team. Just look at the Islanders. With Reaves ($1.75 million) and Goodrow ($3.6 million) making a premium for bottom six roles, there just doesn’t appear to be room for Motte anymore.

Crazier things have happened, of course. Motte hasn’t signed elsewhere, which makes you wonder if he is waiting for the Rangers to clear space and/or offer something a tad more in his price range. Motte’s a player that is desirable across the league, so the fact he hasn’t signed is odd, to say the least.