The 48-hour buyout window that the Rangers gained access to by Jacob Trouba and Pavel Buchnevich filing for arbitration is now open until Wednesday at 5PM.
The Rangers are currently over the upper limit of the $81.5 million salary cap and still have to sign Tony DeAngelo and Brendan Lemieux.
The most likely Rangers to be bought out during this period include Kevin Shattenkirk ($6.65 million cap hit), Brendan Smith ($4.35 million cap hit), Marc Staal ($5.7 million cap hit) and Vlad Namestnikov ($4 million cap hit).
Buying out each player would save the Rangers:
- Namestnikov: $2.6 million this year
- Shattenkirk: $5.16 million this year, $566,667 next year
- Staal: $2.8 million this year, $2 million next year
- Smith: $3.379 million this year, $1.2 million next year
The corresponding cap hits that the Rangers would take on a a result of the buyouts are below:
Larry Brooks wrote in the NY Post that buying out Shattenkirk would be the “least painful” way for the Rangers to clear cap space.
Adam Rotter: Buying out Kevin Shattenkirk allows the Rangers to get under the salary cap for this season without any other moves being made. That means that Chris Kreider can, stay, Namestnikov can stay and Brendan Smith could even remain on the roster to swing back and forth between forward and defense. That only works for this season though and the big cap charge for next season would likely preclude the Rangers from making any big move or hand out any big contract. You have to play this season before you can worry about what issues you may have next season, but I just don’t think buying out Shattenkirk is the right move. It very well could happen, I just think that keeping Shattenkirk allows the Rangers to let Adam Fox develop on his own and gives the potential that Shattenkirk is able to find his game and possibly draw trade interest during the season (with the Rangers retaining some his salary).
It makes much more financial sense to buy out Marc Staal over Shattenkirk but it seems far less likely to happen. Staal will kill penalties, play against the other team’s second line and march toward 1,000 (regular season and playoffs) career games with the Rangers. The Rangers are going to need veterans and leaders and while that isn’t necessarily the best reason to keep someone around, it is important. His numbers, especially advanced numbers, aren’t great but he has a role on this team and I don’t think it’s likely to change.
Brendan Smith is the defenseman who should be bought out. He’s versatile and can bring some jam and the team that signs him for under $1 million dollars will get a motivated 6/7th defenseman and possible 13th forward. The Rangers could stick him in Hartford and call him up as needed, but the cap charges with him are not as severe as they are with Shattenkirk and he is unlikely to play the minutes or have the same kind of impact on and off the ice that Staal can. I think the Rangers were hopeful that someone might have interest in Smith at 50% of his salary based upon St. Louis winning the Cup with some jam, but that interest isn’t there or the Rangers are unwilling to part with another asset to make that kind of deal happen.
I think buying out Vlad Namestnikov makes sense. It saves the Rangers some money, the cap charges aren’t too bad and he doesn’t have a spot in the top-nine. I do think the Rangers could hold onto him and trade him during the year as a rental, but that only works if the Rangers buy out some of the guys above and/or trade Chris Kreider.
It’s possible the Rangers get to Wednesday at 5PM and have not bought anyone out. It seems unlikely but it’s certainly possibly. If that is the case though then you’d think the Rangers would have some trades coming but they would not be trades bringing back a ton of value.