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Rangers have room to maneuver with NHL salary cap

Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers skates

Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers skates during the first day of training camp at MSG Training Center in Greenburgh, NY on Friday, Sept. 23, 2016. Credit: James Escher

With two preseason games in the books, let’s take a quick look at the math and how one possible opening-night lineup for the Rangers stacks up against the $73-million salary cap.

Hint: They’ve got room to maneuver.

NHL teams must be salary-cap compliant by Oct. 11, before the first games of the regular season on Oct. 12.

Forwards (13)

Rick Nash: $7,800,000

Derek Stepan: $6,500,000

Chris Kreider: $4,625,000

Mats Zuccarello: $4,500,000

J.T. Miller: $2,750,000

Mika Zibanejad: $2,650,000

Kevin Hayes: $2,600,000

Michael Grabner: $1,650,000

Brandon Pirri: $1,100,000

Jesper Fast: $950,000

Jimmy Vesey: $925,000

Pavel Buchnevich: $925,000

Nathan Gerbe: $600,000

Total: $37,575,000

Defensemen (7)

Marc Staal: $5,700,000

Dan Girardi: $5,500,000

Ryan McDonagh: $4,700,000

Kevin Klein: $2,900,000

Nick Holden: $1,650,000

Brady Skjei: $925,000

Dylan McIlrath: $800,000

Total: $22,175,000

Goalies (2)

Henrik Lundqvist $8,500,000

Antti Raanta $1,000,000

Total: $9,500,000

Total estimated cap charge: $69,250,000

In this scenario, assigning forward Tanner Glass (32, $1.4 million) to the AHL would mean an additional cap charge of $500,000, bringing the total to $69,750,000, leaving space of $3,250,000.

If that happens, the Rangers would have just four players over the age of 30: Lundqvist, 34; Nash and Girardi, 32, and Klein, 31. On opening night last season, they also had Dan Boyle (39), Dom Moore (35) and Jarret Stoll (33).

Other factors

If center Oscar Lindberg, expected to be sidelined until November following hip surgery in May, is assigned to long-term IR, they would not be subject to his $650,000 cap hit until he returns.

Lindberg wouldn’t be eligible to play for 10 games. The Rangers 11th game is Nov. 3rd.

When he returns, the Rangers still would have to be cap- compliant. Or he could remain on IR, with his cap hit included. That latter option doesn’t seem to make sense given his timetable.

So the Rangers have much more wiggle room than last October, when they were about $200,000 under the $71.4-million cap. And they will have eight or nine different players on opening night against the Islanders on Oct. 13 than the group that kicked off the season a year ago.

They have the option of carrying a low-cost 23rd player as an eighth defenseman (Adam Clendening ($600,000, for instance) or a forward, although head coach Alain Vigneault referred to 13 forwards, not 14, on Thursday morning.

Center Josh Jooris’ ($600,000) groin injury, suffered early in the Islanders game, doesn’t help his chances, unless he is able to play well in some of the final four games, beginning Saturday against the Devils at Prudential Center.

The qualifier on all this? Another injury can change the landscape, and trades are also possible, changing the numbers in the next 10 days.


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