1:01PM: The Rangers have re-signed Brandon Crawley.
11:48AM: Officially the Rangers UFAs are: Matt Beleskey, J-F Berube, Jesper Fast, Steven Fogarty, Micheal Haley, Nicklas Jensen, Greg McKegg, Nick Ebert, Vinni Lettieri, Boo Nieves, Danny O’Regan, Ryan Gropp, Dawson Leedahl.
Officially, the Rangers RFAs are: “Brandon Crawley, Tony DeAngelo, Phillip Di Giuseppe, Gabriel Fontaine, Alexandar Georgiev, Brendan Lemieux, Darren Raddysh, Ryan Strome.”
8:43AM: Free Agency begins at 12PM today and the following Rangers are slated to become Unrestricted Free Agents:
- Jesper Fast, Greg McKegg, Micheal Haley
- Minor leaguers: Matt Beleskey, Steven Fogarty, Boo Nieves, Vinni Lettieri, Danny O’Regan, Ryan Gropp, Dawson Leedahl
The Rangers have just over $23 million in cap space, according to Cap Friendly, but due to them being over the performance bonus limit* the number is likely closer to somewhere between $17 million and $20 million depending on roster construction. (NY Post, Frank Seravalli)
When asked after the draft about Jesper Fast’s status, Jeff Gorton said “that is probably a better question for Kurt Overhardt and Jesper at this point, they probably know better whether he is going to market. At this point, we are so close, it’s hard to think that it’s probably not going to at least see what is out there and we will see what happens with the Rangers after that.” (NYR)
When asked about being active when Free Agency opens, Gorton said “certainly we will be looking to see what will happen. We have some players that we’ve identified could help us. We will talk to those people at the right time and go from there, I don’t know one way or the other. I don’t think it will be like last year, that is for sure. We’ll see.”
Tony DeAngelo, Ryan Strome, Brendan Lemieux, Alex Georgiev and Phil Di Giuseppe are all RFAs with arbitration rights.
Henrik Lundqvist is expected to sign with the Capitals.
*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 $7,212,500 in potential performance bonuses. This does not include the likely $2.85 million in potential bonuses for Alexis Lafreniere, $850,000 for Morgan Barron, $500,000 for Vitali Kravtsov or $300,000 for K’Andre Miller.
Adam Rotter: Unlike last year’s free agency opening, which landed Artemi Panarin, the expectation is that the Rangers will be nibbling around the edges, looking for depth players and won’t be involved with any of the big fish like Taylor Hall, Alex Pietrangelo or Torey Krug. The Rangers have a need on the left side of their defense but Jeff Gorton said that the coaching staff has been discussing moving Tony DeAngelo or Adam Fox to the left side. Still, the expectation is that the Rangers will add a veteran left shot defenseman, if not two of them. Center remains more of a long-term issue, especially if Ryan Strome ends up staying, but it’s an area the Rangers are still expected to pursue. With the goal of being both physically tougher and tougher to play against, there has been talk for a while linking the Islanders Matt Martin to the Rangers, but Larry Brooks says that the Rangers aren’t expected “to be in the hunt.” Unlike most years when things tend to quiet down after the first couple of days in July, many around the league believe that with so many teams trying to move money that things will stay active for a while, if not until right before training camps begin.
Jesper Fast likely won’t return and, if they can clear the space, could join Henrik Lundqvist in Washington. Fast is going to draw a lot of interest from around the league. Michael Grabner was bought out by Arizona and his return would soften losing Fast, a little, especially on the PK.
The performance bonus thing is a real issue for the Rangers and will limit what they can do outside of signing their RFAs. If the Rangers have every player with potential performances on their roster on opening night then they will need to have $5.6 million to cover that. Essentially all of the money the Rangers saved by moving Marc Staal to Detroit would go toward covering the bonus money to make sure the Rangers stay under the cap. It’s why there is still a question of whether Ryan Strome will be with the Rangers and there has been so much talk about what he could get in arbitration. Strome, and Tony DeAngelo, could still be moved, some around the league think that Pavel Buchnevich is drawing interest and could be moved. It’s going to be a very interesting offseason not just for the Rangers but the whole league.