Certain roster decisions by Rangers could project a powerful lineup next season

The New York Rangers organization will be busy this offseason, as they grapple with big time decisions that will shape the future direction of this team for many years to come. The different combinations of moves that can be made are plenty, but there is one clear goal in mind: to build a Stanley Cup contender. It should go without saying, but a professional hockey team can in no way, build a contender comprised of twenty $1 million players. In simplest terms, high caliber players get paid.

So many decisions

The Rangers are presented with an interesting set of circumstances when looking ahead to this coming offseason. While their salary cap issues will still loom over the 20-21 season, they are actually in good shape once the following offseason rolls around. It can be difficult for fans to look into what seems like the distant future, but the salary cap relief will be here before we know it. This leads to the ultimate question: What moves can the Rangers make now that will ensure that they do not lose valuable assets for the team’s future?

With projections of my own using tools by CapFriendly, I have put together a starting roster for the 2020-2021 season that assumes a salary cap of $82.5 million and sheds light on fans’ most burning questions regarding notable RFA’s and what to do with those big contracts currently weighing on the team’s cap.

Jeff Gorton (NYR)

Projected 2020-2021 NYR

2020-2021 Total Projected Cap hit: $79,702,968

Projected Cap Space: $2,797,032

Roster Size: 22/23

Forwards: Projected total salary hit: $42,300,857

Panarin: 11.64mil

Zibanejad: 5.35mil

Buchnevich: 3.25mil

Kakko: 925K

Kravtsov: 925K

Chytil: 895K

Howden: 863K

McKegg: 750K

Letteri: 700K

Kreider: 7mil (projected)

Strome: 5.5mil (projected)

Fast: 2.5mil (projected)

Lemieux: 2mil (projected)

Defensemen: Projected total salary hit: $16,917,000

Trouba: 8mil

Fox: 925K

Lindgren: 925K

Rykov: 925K

Hajek: 833K

Keane: 809K

DeAngelo: 4.5mil (projected)

Goalies: Total salary hit: $9,424,000

Shesterkin: 925K

Lundqvist: 8.5mil

Extra spending : Projected total salary hit: $11,061,111

Shattenkirk- 6.08mil (buyout)

Girardi: 1.11mil (buyout)

Spooner- 300K (retainment)

Marc Staal buyout breakdown: (Capfriendly.com)

2020-21: $3,566,667

2021-22: $1,066,667

Total: $4,633,334

Savings (20-21): $2,133,333

Notable moves: Skjei, Smith, and Georgiev are traded.

How did I get here

Zibanejad and Panarin (AP)

With this projected roster, it is important to remember that the Rangers will get a huge salary relief after next season, as Lundqvist’s contract comes off the books and both Shattenkirk and Staal buyouts decrease to roughly $1 million each towards the cap. With all the above players already signed to deals, the Rangers would only be left to pay the following: Shesterkin, Hajek, Lindgren, Chytil, Howden, and Buchnevich. Besides Buchnevich, all other players will be coming off Entry Level Contracts with no arbitration rights. In reality, none of these players will make more than $1.5-3 million apiece.

When it comes down to it, every contract has its potential upside and potential risk. It’s about choosing which players management feels are worth that risk moving forward. President John Davidson and General Manager Jeff Gorton, were brought in to make these types of big decisions. One thing is certain, the Rangers front office will be busy this offseason and I wouldn’t mind watching this projected lineup take the ice on opening night come October.

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