The end of their season
The Rangers had a season for the books, to say the least. A historic season by netminder Igor Shesterkin. Power forward Chris Kreider netted 52 goals, and the likes of Mika Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin, and Adam Fox playing as expected and better at times, all helped lead the Blueshirts back to the playoffs. A defense core with offensive capabilities like any other. That core still being great in their own end and a top 6 as good as any other. All these things added together helped the Rangers be great. With the end of the 2021-2022 NHL season, the Rangers, like many other teams, they are tight against the salary cap roof.
Pre and Post-Trade Deadline Rangers
The Rangers leading up to the deadline were a good team, but not a great one. Kaapo Kakko, Alexis Lafreniere, and Filip Chytil having yet another down year forced the Rangers to make some moves this year. Not having a solid 3rd defense pairing also forced the Rangers’ hand to make a move. The one big question of the deadline was what to do with Alexandar Georgiev. In the end, management decided to keep him.
On the weekend of the 2022 NHL trade deadline, the Rangers made some big moves. Frank Vatrano kickstarted the saga of moves. The Rangers traded for Vatrano from Florida and he was stellar in all the hockey he played post-deadline.
Andrew Copp was traded to the Rangers from the Jets moments before the deadline. Copp was over a PPG in the regular season and complemented the roster perfectly. Come playoff time Copp fizzled out, but with the aggressive schedule, maintaining elite play is rough.
The Rangers sadly do not have a lot of cap space to work with. Some of the remaining buy-out penalties are coming off the books this year which is a huge help. 3,427,000 is how much the Rangers will owe in buy-out penalties this year. 11,933,531 is how much cap space the Blueshirts have. The brutal contracts of Jacob Trouba, Barclay Goodrow, and Patrik Nemeth account for roughly 13 million of cap space next year and that is a killer
Ryan Strome, Alexandar Georgiev, Andrew Copp, Frank Vatrano, and Kaapo Kakko are all the notable players set to become some form of a free agent this summer. The Rangers should be able to retain all but one of these players this year.
Ryan Strome is most likely going to walk. In free agency, Strome will likely see offers of around 7,000,000. This is not as big of a loss when you consider the fact that he is largely carried by his teammates and is very poor in his own end.
Alexandar Georgiev is someone who will leave not because of money, but because he is unhappy with his circumstances. It will be a somewhat mutually pleasant breakup, but there is still a small chance he stays.
Frank Vatrano and Kaapo Kakko will likely sign “prove it” deals in the 2-3 million dollar range likely 1-3 years long. While both are going to sign similar contracts they are in different situations. Vatrano the UFA will look for a prove-it deal to get a big payday on his next deal. Kakko the RFA is looking to show he can become a star in the league, a star he was projected to be in 2019.
Andrew Copp is a fairly easy contract to predict and it will look something like a 5 year 5,000,000 deal. This deal is one seen all over the league and with good friend Jacob Trouba on the team and a likely 2nd line spot opening it makes perfect sense.
This leaves the Rangers in a pretty good situation. With some trades and GM magic, this team will be damn good again next year. Quite a few free agents this summer will take a good look at NYC, but management needs to make some moves first. The Rangers are in an ok cap situation, but as fans, if we continue to trust the process we will be good.