New talk of salary cap increase would help New York Rangers

The New York Rangers are looking at a challenging offseason, and I’m not just talking about finding the right head coach.

As it stands, the Blueshirts have just under $12 million in cap space with only 14 players signed. Even if they opt to go with a 21-man roster next season, they’ll still need to sign or bring up a total of 7 players.

Not an easy task with the NHL salary cap expected to jump by a mere million dollars. However, there’s some optimism after Monday’s meeting between the NHL and NHLPA that it could go up a little higher.

Current NHL Salary Cap projections:

  • 2023-24: $83.5 million
  • 2024-24: $87.5 million
  • 2025-25: $92 million

New York Rangers salary cap

new york rangers
Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, he notes that there’s a potential for that increase to be around $2 million. While there was talk about raising escrow due to the loss of revenue to the league caused by the pandemic in order to elevate the salary cap, that’s not a starting point for the NHLPA.

The additional million doesn’t seem like much, but it could go a long way in getting two key RFA’s under contract and filling out the rest of the roster efficiently.

Alexis Lafreniere, 21, was the first overall pick in 2020 but has struggled in his first three-seasons on Broadway. That’s largely due to the fact the Rangers jumped a bunch of teams by winning the lottery and they were already stacked on left wing with Chris Kreider and Artemi Panarin. Normally players drafted that high go to lousy teams and get tons of ice time in all situations. Not the case for Lafreniere, who has amassed just 91 points in 216 regular-season games.

K’Andre Miller, 23, had an excellent regular-season where he set career-highs for goals (9), assists (34), and points (43). Unfortunately, he still had issues in his own zone down the stretch and in the playoffs. Offense from the blue-line is great, but he has to be better defensively.

The silver lining for the Rangers is that both players should be open to short term deals since they have no arbitration rights or leverage. Early projections have Lafreniere getting a 2 year-deal at around $2.5M and Miller with the same term at $3M.

If the Rangers can get those deals done and the cap goes up by $2 million, that leaves them around $7 million to sign/add 5 or 6 more players.

The Rangers will need to allocate $1 million to $1.5 million to sign a backup goalie. They can also bring up cost-controlled young players on their entry-level contracts like Will Cuylle.

That will leave GM Chris Drury with a little over $4 million for the expected re-signing of Tyler Motte and some tweaks to the bottom six.

At the end of the day, it’s still tight and may lead to an eventual trade of Barclay Goodrow, who has a modified no-trade clause. Trading him will be tough as he’ll have four years remaining on his deal with a cap hit of $3.6 million. However, it may be the only way to fill out the roster and possibly bring in a decent free agent.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore