Hard to predict what the Rangers will do tomorrow in free agency

The Rangers have $23 million in cap space heading into tomorrow. One would think they could use that to make a run at any free agent they like, but that would be incorrect. Those pesky performance bonuses that you hope guys on ELC’s hit, makes it less.

Yes, we want Alexis Lafreniere to win Rookie of the Year and be an All-Star. Same for whatever performance bonuses Kaapo Kakko, Igor Shesterkin, Adam Fox, and K’Andre Miller can hit too. So in truth that cap number is closer to $18 million than $23 million.

What will happen with their RFAs?

Let’s take two guys right out of the mix in Brendan Lemieux and Alexandar Georgiev who are rumored to be getting multi-year deals. The number between the two of them is somewhere between $4-5 million.

So now you have $14 million for Tony DeAngelo and Ryan Strome. Seems like enough except you need to fill out the roster. Currently they have 8 forwards and 5 defensemen signed (9 forwards assuming Lemieux). Throw in Lafreniere and Vitali Kravtsov and you have 11. You still need three or four more players and you’ve spent almost $2 million on Alexis and Vitali.

New York Rangers rumors
Ryan Strome and Tony DeAngelo need to stay with NYR (NHLI/Getty Images)

Are you starting to see the money dry up?

Let’s assume the Rangers sign DeAngelo for $5 million and Strome for $4 million. Now the Rangers have around $2 – 4 million for a free agent tomorrow, depending on if they also want K’Andre Miller or Libor Hajek on the team.

That’s why it is hard to predict what the Rangers will do.

The Rangers will need to make another cap clearing move

If Jeff Gorton wants to be a player for a center or a veteran defenseman, he needs to make more room. He can gain about $1 million more if they chose to bury Brendan Smith in Hartford. Of course it would be better if they can find a trade partner for him. That could mean another $4 million in space, unless they have to retain salary.

Should they have that kind of room, they can make a play for Alex Wennberg who is an attractive free agent option at center. And maybe a defenseman like TJ Brodie could be had to pair with Jacob Trouba. Bottom line they need to make another move to do it.

The unexpected

Jeff Gorton said he was shopping players at the draft. Ryan Strome was mentioned by name. It was also learned that Tony DeAngelo was asked about by both the Ducks and Knights. Basically there’s buns in the oven.

If Gorton starts trading away those players, all bets are off and who knows what he’s opening that space for. So while tomorrow could be a very boring day for the Rangers, it could be a wild one as well.

P.S. If you are asking about Jesper Fast, I told you in an exclusive report on 9/1 he was heading to free agency.

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Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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