Rangers release Arron Asham and Darroll Powe

Arron Asham of the Rangers celebrates scoring a

Arron Asham of the Rangers celebrates scoring a goal against the Washington Capitals during the first period. (March 24, 2013) (Credit: Getty Paul Bereswill)

Arron Asham and Darroll Powe were waived by the Rangers on Thursday, clearing about $2 million in cap space and setting the table for a trade or acquiring a free agent when the market opens at noon Friday.

With only about $13 million to sign restricted free agents Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin, Mats Zuccarello and Justin Falk, the extra dollars will give the team more flexibility if the players are claimed.

Three forwards who formerly played for new coach Alain Vigneault might be on the radar: Max Laperriere, 28, an aggressive third-line center; Mason Raymond, 27, a left wing who had 10 goals and 22 points in 46 games, and Manny Malhotra, 33, a center who spent four seasons with the Rangers. He has experienced eye problems and played nine games last season for the Canucks.

Asham and Powe are the 13th and 14th forwards on the roster, and the Rangers need more players up front because Ryan Callahan and Hagelin had shoulder labrum surgery. They will miss training camp and probably some regular-season games.

Teams are allowed to exceed the 2013-14 salary cap of $64.3 million by 10 percent during the summer as long as they are compliant by opening night.

Asham, 35, is in the final season of a two-year contract. He played only 27 games, with two goals, but scored twice in 10 playoff games before being benched, along with Brad Richards, for the final two postseason games against the Bruins.

Primarily a penalty-killer, Powe, 28, was acquired in the deal that sent Mike Rupp to the Wild. He was pointless in 34 games and three playoff games and suffered a concussion in the postseason.

The Dolan family owns controlling interests in the Rangers, Madison Square Garden and Cablevision. Cablevision owns Newsday.

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