With Ryan Strome’s two-year deal on Thursday and Brendan Lemieux’s two-year deal, the Rangers have signed all of their RFAs.
According to Cap Friendly, the Rangers have $4,829,367 in cap space but with them being $3.95 million over the potential performance bonus limit*, the actual cap space number is: $879,367, with a roster that includes forwards Kevin Rooney ($750,000), Colin Blackwell ($725,000) and defenseman Anthony Bitetto ($737,500).
A roster that keeps Rooney, Phil Di Giuseppe, but subtracts Blackwell, and keeps Bitetto, has the Rangers with: $1,604,367 on opening night.
Subtracting Blackwell, but adding Morgan Barron ($925,000 cap hit, $850,000 in potential bonuses) OR Vitali Kravtsov ($925,000 cap hit, $850,000 in potential bonuses) for opening night would leave the Rangers $170,633 over the salary cap. Another player would need to be removed to make one of those players cap compliant.
The NHL Network on Thursday put up the following lines for the Rangers:
- Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, Pavel Buchnevich
- Artemi Panarin, Ryan Strome, Kaapo Kakko
- Alexis Lafreniere, Filip Chytil, Julien Gauthier
- Brendan Lemieux, Brett Howden, Colin Blackwell
*Performance bonuses for a team can not exceed 7.5% of the salary cap ($6,112,500). The Rangers, right now, according to Cap Friendly have $10,062,500 in potential performance bonuses. This does not include $850,000 for Morgan Barron, $500,000 for Vitali Kravtsov or $300,000 for K’Andre Miller. As the season goes on and performance bonuses are not reached, the specific dollar amount of that bonus drops from the overall number and become cap space.
Adam Rotter: The offseason is now done for the Rangers unless they decide to make a trade, which seems unlikely. This team looks…pretty much the same as the team that was swept out of the qualifying round by Carolina. Of course, Alexis Lafreniere is in, Julien Gauthier and Igor Shesterkin will have full seasons, or at least as full a season as the NHL will have, Kaapo Kakko will have a year under his belt, Jacob Trouba was much better as the season went on and Jack Johnson and Kevin Rooney were brought in to help the PK. Jesper Fast, Marc Staal and Henrik Lundqvist are out but that is about it. There was a chance Tony DeAngelo was going to be gone, a chance that Ryan Strome was going to be gone, Brendan Smith was a candidate to be bought out and there had been a little buzz about Pavel Buchnevich drawing interest around the league, but all those players remain. They didn’t, at least on the surface, get appreciably harder to play against, which was a focus after the sweep from Carolina, and will be banking on internal development to push them forward. They still have Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin to lead them forward up front and Igor Shesterkin & Alex Georgiev in net, but the defense is still in transition.
John Davidson continually talks about how when the Rangers get to where they want to be, that players who aren’t yet on the team will have major roles. Many believe the players he is talking about include K’Andre Miller, Nils Lundkvist, Morgan Barron and Vitali Kravtsov, with newly drafted Braden Schneider being added to that list. Other prospects and young players will surprise and force their way in, like Ryan Lindgren last year and some think Libor Hajek could do that this year.
The questions that still need to be answered, and probably won’t until training camp begins, include:
- Who will replace what Jesper Fast brought, not just on the Panarin line but on the PK and late game situations?
- Who will play with Jacob Trouba?
- Who will play with Tony DeAngelo?
- Which, if any young defenseman, make their way on to the team?
- How will the LWs be deployed?
It’s been a low-key offseason, excluding Lafreniere, for a Rangers team that is still deciding who will be here and who won’t be here in the next few years.