PHILADELPHIA - The good news for the Rangers on the first day of the NHL draft was that they gained a third-round pick and shed some salary by trading Derek Dorsett to Vancouver.
The bad news was that the league announced that next season's salary cap will be $69 million, several million less than projected, which means that signing unrestricted free agents Anton Stralman, Benoit Pouliot, Brian Boyle and Dominic Moore will be more difficult.
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The Rangers, who did not have a first-round pick, now have five picks in the draft, including two third-rounders.
A few hours before the draft Friday night at Wells Fargo Center, the Rangers traded Dorsett, 27, who played 51 games for them last season, mostly on the fourth line. He had four goals, eight points and 128 penalty minutes. Dorsett carries a cap hit of $1.63 million and will be an unrestricted free agent after the season.
Stralman, a solid second-pair defenseman, should command well over $4 million per season on a multiyear deal. Numerous teams have inquired about Pouliot, who reportedly is seeking $3 million a year (from $1.3 million) for three years. Boyle, who had a $1.7-million cap hit, has said he'd like a larger role; Rangers coach Alain Vigneault prefers the same one.
The Rangers need to give substantial hikes to restricted free agents Derick Brassard, Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider and John Moore. They might need to have forwards J.T. Miller, Jesper Fast and Oscar Lindberg and a young defenseman, perhaps Conor Allen or Mat Bodie, crack the opening-day roster.
Dorsett, a gritty if undersized winger who was acquired from the Blue Jackets with Brassard in the Marian Gaborik trade in April 2013, had one assist in 23 playoff games.
He missed six weeks after suffering a broken right leg while blocking a shot by the Penguins' Olli Maatta on Jan. 3. The Rangers quickly traded for Dan Carcillo, then with the Kings, to replace him.
The Canucks inquired about Dorsett recently. He played for new Vancouver coach Willie Desjardins for Medicine Hat of the Western Hockey League from 2004-07.
Said Vancouver general manager Jim Benning, "Heart-and-soul player. Sticks up for his teammates."