At a press conference earlier today, Gary Bettman announced that the salary cap for next season is expected to be around $83 million. (Dreger)
As of now the Rangers have $59.6 million in cap space committed for next season and a salary cap of $83 million would leave the Rangers with around $23 million in cap space.
Following this season the Rangers will have Pavel Buchnevich, Neal Pionk, Tony DeAngelo, Freddy Claesson, Steven Fogarty, Vinni Lettieri and a few other prospects as RFAs.
Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello, Dustin Tokarski, Adam McQuaid and Cody McLeod are all slated to be UFAs.
Potential UFAs from around the NHL include Artemi Panarin, Mark Stone, Erik Karlsson, Matt Duchene, Jordan Eberle and Jeff Skinner.
Adam Rotter: Panarin is the big fish this summer and the Rangers have more than enough space to pay him, even if it’s between $9 million and $10 million. Same would go for Stone or any of the other forwards. Karlsson would be possible too, but at this moment he seems like more of a long-shot.
The RFAs in Buchnevich, Pionk and probably DeAngelo would likely, at the highest level, be around $8 million. The biggest question about the cap for next season is whether Kevin Hayes will be part of it. I think it’s 50/50 at this point but, with how he’s played under David Quinn, a greater chance that he stays than I thought prior to the season. No-trade protection is likely to be a sticking point with Hayes as he looks for stability while the Rangers look to remain flexible. Unless he’s determined to stay with the Rangers, and take a short-term deal and probably a pay cut, it seems likely that Zuccarello will be somewhere else next year.