Restricted free agents Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan and Brian Boyle are expected to file for salary arbitration by today's 5 p.m. deadline.
As in previous years, this is not a reason for fans to panic. Deals are usually reached before hearings. Callahan, for example, filed in 2009, and signed a two-year deal worth $2.2 and $2.4 million. Dan Girardi filed last year, and signed a 4 year, $13.3 million deal.
Rangers GM Glen Sather said on Saturday's conference call that discussions were underway and that the Rangers have cap room to negotiate.
Callahan's cap hit was $2.3 million last season, Dubinsky's $1.85 million and Boyle's $525,000. All will surely rise substantially, with or without arbitration, which uses last year's stats and recent signings for comparables, but the Rangers have at least $15 million remaining in cap space for 2011-12.
With Marian Gaborik injured, Dubinsky finished as the team's highest scorer with 54 points (24-30) in 77 games, and led all forwards in average ice time with 20:13. Callahan had 48 points, (23-25) but that was in just 60 games, and led the team with 10 PPG. He averaged 19:54 TOI. Boyle had a career year (so far, as he he would say) with 21 goals and 14 assists while averaging 15:44 in 82 games. Sauer, 24, proved to be a steady, tough, stay-at-home, second-pair defenseman (3-12-15) in 76 games.