Cap and Trade: The Rangers limited cap space increases trade possibility

Sather, JD, Gorton (NYR)

The season is almost a week away and the Rangers will need to be making some roster decisions that will impact the salary cap. As of right now the Blueshirts will have very limited cap room heading into the season and will eventually need to make a trade to resolve it.

No Salary Cap Gymnastics Will Help

Recently, I put on my best suit and tie and played Jeff Gorton using Cap Friendly’s Armchair GM tool. And no matter how hard I tried, the best I could come up with is just under a million in cap space.

That’s with keeping Vitali Kravtsov here and sending down both Gregg McKegg and Boo Nieves to Hartford. Also, there is about a $100,000 difference in keeping Brendan Smith or sending him down in favor of Ryan Lindgren. Basically it is negligible and makes more sense to play Smith and try to increase his trade value.

All this mean’s one thing. If the Rangers get a string of minor injuries that don’t require a stint on LTIR (Long Term Injured Reserve) they are going to be in serious pickle. That $800-900,000 cap space is only enough for one emergency call up. And while the Rangers could deal with that, a trade makes sense sooner rather than later.

Showcase Time

One player the Rangers are not going to move at this time is Chris Kreider. We can talk about him when we near the trade deadline later in the season. Jeff Gorton needs to have David Quinn get Vlad Namestnikov, Ryan Strome, and Brendan Smith into this lineup early in order to showcase them and build trade value.

That is going to come with a price, so Rangers’ fans need to be prepared for scratches of players like Kravtsov, Brendan Lemieux, Adam Fox, Libor Hajek, and yes….Kaapo Kakko. Jeff Gorton can get the breathing room he needs to navigate this long season by simply trading one of those three players, even if he has to retain some salary in order to do so.

So get ready Rangers faithful. You’ve been warned what is going to happen in the early goings of this season. Just remember this post when you are screaming at your phone or TV when you hear Kakko is being scratched in order to play Namestnikov.