2020 Rangers Offseason

What John Davidson said about prospects, goalies and more

John Davidson was on NHL Network Radio on Monday and said:

  • On last season, “When you go through this, I guess you call it a build or rebuild, there are lots of pluses/minuses, step forwards, backwards, it’s how it goes. It started before I got to the Rangers to be part of the management team, Jeff Gorton and Chris Drury did a lot of work and the biggest key is patience. First, you have to find a way to get players, whether it’s draft picks or trades, you need to develop them. We are in the middle of that right now, we’ve gone through a lot to get a whole bunch of very good players and now it’s on us to develop the players and put them in positions to do well for us, try to make good decisions, whether they are short-term decisions or long-term decisions to put together a winning hockey club. I love where we sit right now, we have players that are hungry, veterans that are ready to roll, some that are young players who have already proven themselves to a degree. We are in a real good spot.”
2020 Rangers Offseason

Where the Rangers are now that their RFAs are signed

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.

2020 Rangers Offseason Ryan Strome Ryan Strome Contract/Future

Rangers and Ryan Strome file salary arbitration briefs

11:04AM: Ryan Strome’s arbitration hearing is scheduled for Thursday and each side has filed their salary arbitration briefs (Friedman):

  • Strome: $5.7 million
  • Rangers: $3.6 million

Strome, 27, is coming off a two-year deal that he signed with Edmonton that had a cap hit of $3.1 million.

The Rangers did not send Strome his qualifying offer of $3.2 million until shortly before the deadline.

If Strome’s arbitration award is greater than $4,538,958, the Rangers can walk away from the award and Strome would become a UFA.

As part of the NHL’s Return To Play MOU, Strome would have four days, following the Rangers walking away, to decide if he wants to remain with the Rangers and sign for the ___ that they submitted to the arbitrator.

“For 2020, in the event a Club exercises their Walk-Away Right (pursuant to Section 12.10 of the CBA) relating to a one-year Salary Arbitration award, the Player may within four (4) days of receipt of notice from the Club that they are exercising their Walk-Away Right, elect to enter into an SPC with the Club on the same terms as the Club had offered in the Club’s Salary Arbitration Brief.”

The Rangers have not had an arbitration hearing since walking away from Nikolai Zherdev’s award in 2009.

Strome is slated to be a UFA following the 2020-21 season.

Since joining the Rangers, Strome has 36 goals and 56 assists in 133 games. He had two assists in the Rangers three-game sweep by Carolina.

Adam Rotter: The Rangers went with the lowest of low ends for this and Strome went with close to the highest of high end numbers for someone of his production and experience. The mid-point of the two is $4.6 million, which is just a tick above the walk-away number.

The arbitrator is very likely going to come in at around the mid-point and walk-away number and with that being the case, it seems reasonable to expect the two sides to avoid arbitration and come to terms on a one or two-year deal at around $4.5 million. Two-years would give Strome the security of having a contract for 2021-22 but would also leave him exposed for Seattle in the expansion draft. There is also the question of whether Strome can get a better contract than between $3.6 million and $4.538 million as a UFA if the award allows the Rangers to walk-away. Teams always need centers, the Rangers included, but the market is frozen with uncertainty about when the season will start and the fact that plenty of teams are out of cap space, still in need of moving players out or keeping cap space to sign their own RFAs. Strome’s best contract will likely come from the Rangers, unless a team like LA or the Devils decide to go after him.

2020 Rangers Offseason

What is next for the Rangers after getting DeAngelo and Georgiev signed

3:08PM: The Rangers have announced that they have re-signed RFA minor leaguers Gabriel Fontaine and Darren Raddysh.

On Thursday the Rangers signed Alex Georgiev and Tony DeAngelo to new contracts and avoided their scheduled arbitration hearings.

Both signed two-year deals with Georgiev’s cap hit of $2.425 million and DeAngelo’s being $4.8 million.

Both will still be RFAs when their contracts expire.

Cap Friendly says that the Rangers have $10.8 million in cap space, though the Rangers need to save between $3.9 million and $5.6 million to cover potential bonuses for their entry-level players.

Cap Friendly‘s $10.8 million includes newly signed Colin Blackwell ($725,000), Kevin Rooney ($750,000) and Anthony Bitetto ($737,500)  as part of the roster.

Ryan Strome (11/5) and Brendan Lemieux (11/6) are RFAs with arbitration hearings scheduled.

Adam Rotter: I’m not sure what else the Rangers are looking to do this offseason, if anything, but they are sort of held up until Ryan Strome’s situation gets resolved. When you combine Strome’s eventual cap hit with the bonus issue, the Rangers are very much up against the salary cap. Some of that can be massaged based upon which depth players the Rangers carry or which prospects do or don’t make the team, but it’s not a ton of room to maneuver and improve the areas they wanted to improve in. Brendan Lemiuex could get signed before Strome’s situation is handled and the Rangers can go over the cap, if need be, until the start of next season to give them more time to figure out how they want the roster to be constructed, but when you combine all the dead cap space from the buyouts and the performance bonuses, the Rangers could very well be done this offseason once the RFAs are signed.

2020 Rangers Offseason Alex Georgiev Brendan Lemieux Ryan Strome Ryan Strome Contract/Future Tony DeAngelo

DeAngelo, Strome, Lemieux and Georgiev file for arbitration (Updates)

10/13 | The NHLPA has announced the dates for the arbitration hearings:

  • Tony DeAngelo – October 20th
  • Alex Georgiev – October 31
  • Ryan Strome – November 5
  • Brendan Lemieux – November 6

The Rangers and each player could strike a deal prior to the hearing.

Adam Rotter: DeAngelo is first up for the Rangers, a week from today, and while so much focus in the last couple of weeks has been on Ryan Strome’s future, DeAngelo’s future is still in question. I don’t know if DeAngelo’s arbitration award will reach the “walk away” number, but the Rangers won’t walk away from DeAngelo. DeAngelo is a valuable player both to the rest of the NHL as a trade piece but to the Rangers as well. Short-term DeAngelo may be with the Rangers, but his long-term prospects are hazy.

Lemieux and Georgiev should both be easy contracts. Lemieux doesn’t have a ton to go on, in fact he has a some things, like his suspensions, going against him, but I’d expect them to strike a 2-year deal worth the $1.85 million Jesper Fast made. Georgiev will likely get a deal between $2.5 million and $3 million for 2-3 years to avoid arbitration.

10/10 | The NHLPA has announced that the following Rangers have filed for salary arbitration:

  • Tony DeAngelo
  • Brendan Lemieux
  • Alex Georgiev
  • Ryan Strome

Hearings will take place between October 20th and November 8th.

If the arbitration award is greater than $4,538,958, the Rangers can walk away from the award.

From the NHL’s Return To Play MOU, “For 2020, in the event a Club exercises their Walk-Away Right (pursuant to Section 12.10 of the CBA) relating to a one-year Salary Arbitration award, the Player may within four (4) days of receipt of notice from the Club that they are exercising their Walk-Away Right, elect to enter into an SPC with the Club on the same terms as the Club had offered in the Club’s Salary Arbitration Brief.”

The Rangers have not had an arbitration hearing since walking away from Nikolai Zherdev’s award in 2009.

Phil Di Giueseppe, who the Rangers qualified and had arbitration rights, did not file. He will likely accept his qualifying offer salary of $735,000 or something close to it.

Adam Rotter: This was all expected and we will see what the Rangers plan of action is. I’d assume that it will be easier to get Lemieux and Georgiev signed than Strome and DeAngelo, that is if the Rangers plan to keep Strome and DeAngelo.

2020 Rangers Offseason Ryan Strome Ryan Strome Contract/Future

Rangers have not decided if they will qualify Ryan Strome

10/5/20 | Larry Brooks writes that as of Monday evening there has yet to be a decision made on Strome. (NY Post)

10/4/20 | Larry Brooks writes in the NY Post that the Rangers have not yet made a decision on whether they will extend a qualifying offer to Ryan Strome. (NY Post)

The deadline to qualify players is Tuesday Wednesday at 5PM.

His qualifying offer, which he could accept, is $3.2 million according to Cap Friendly.

Strome, if qualified, could accept his qualifying offer and play this season on a one-year deal worth $3.2 million.

Strome, if qualified, could reject the qualifying offer and either negotiate a contract with the Rangers or take them to arbitration.

Arbitration and his potential award, which the Rangers could walk away from if it is above $4.5 million, is the main issue determining whether he will be qualified or not. (NY Post)

Strome is one season away from becoming a UFA.

He has been ranked #16th on TSN’s recent Trade Bait lists.

Brooks notes that the Rangers have already qualified fellow RFAs Tony DeAngelo, Brendan Lemieux and Alex Georgiev. (NY Post)

Brooks said that it was “unknown” if Phil Di Giuseppe was qualified. (NY Post)

Adam Rotter: There has been talk for a while that there would be a number of “surprising” players who aren’t qualified and will become UFAs and I think Strome fits in that category. The Rangers clearly don’t view him as their long-term answer at center behind Mika Zibanejad, but he’s been a good player since coming over from Edmonton and fit well with Artemi Panarin. You can wonder though if his fit with Panarin was real chemistry or Panarin being one of the very best players in the league and making his teammates/linemates better. Either way, I think it makes sense for the Rangers to qualify him and hold his rights. Doing that gives them more options and while there is some risk in him getting an arbitration award above what they want to pay, they do have the cap space to absorb it. I know he could become a free agent if he isn’t qualified, but I find it hard to believe that some team isn’t willing to part with something like a third-round pick for him. It will be interesting to see if someone wants to make a deal prior to the 5PM deadline on Tuesday.