How the tentative agreement for the 2020-21 season impacts the New York Rangers
Last night, the NHL and NHLPA reached a tentative agreement which was voted on by the players and approved. The league’s Board of Governors are expected to vote and approve the plan on Sunday or Monday.
Breaking down the details of the 2020-21 NHL Season
Here’s a breakdown:
- 56 game schedule
- Season to begin 1/13*
- Training camps will begin 12/30 (non-RTP) and 1/3 (RTP)*
- No expanded roster, remains 23
- Taxi squad of up to 4-6 players with a mandatory third goalie
- Top 4 teams in each division will make the playoffs
- First two rounds of playoffs will be within division
- Round three will be the first out of division games seeded by points
- Players can opt-out of play without pay, team can carryover the contract a year
*Dates subject to change
How this impacts the New York Rangers: Taxi Squad
The first and most important thing to address will be taxi squads. The understanding is these players will be treated as AHL transactions and some may need to pass through waivers. The biggest difference is that these players will practice and travel with the team.
It will be key to note that players on the taxi squad need to be on two-way deals. They will be paid their AHL salaries when on taxi and their NHL contract will kick in when “called up”. The cap remains at $81.5 million.
So this tells us that at least one of the players will be newly signed veteran AHL/NHL goalie, Keith Kinkaid. The other likely taxi squad players will probably be those that are exempt from waivers. Players like K’ Andre Miller and Morgan Barron do fit the bill.
As to the rest of the squad depending on how training camp shakes out, look for Anthony Bitetto to be on it, or maybe carried as an extra on the 23 man roster. Libor Hajek is waivers exempt, so if he doesn’t make the top six, it would be wise to put him on the taxi squad instead. Another is rearguard Darren Raddysh who is exempt from waivers as well.
An exempt option at forward is Tim Gettinger who is familiar with David Quinn’s system. Then look for non-exempt players like Anthony Greco, Jonny Brodzinski, and Colin Blackwell all signed this offseason to be included.
How the divisional playoffs impacts the New York Rangers
There was a minor change to realignment with Minnesota and Dallas switching divisions. The Rangers still face a gauntlet to make the post season. Here’s a quick look at the their division again:
Bos, Buf, NJ, NYI, NYR, Phi, Pit, Wsh
At first glance, I see the Rangers the Rangers would probably rank 6th heading into the season amongst these teams. The top three favorites coming in are easily the Capitals, Bruins, and Flyers.
The Rangers in my estimation could beat out the Penguins or Islanders for the 4th and finals spot to get in. Neither of those teams has blown me away with their offseason moves and in fact the Islanders probably lost more than any team in the division.
Another factor will be health in a short season and goaltending tandems. The Rangers currently have the second best tandem in Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev behind Boston’s Tuukka Rask and Jaro Halak. This will play with a condensed schedule as to not burn out your starter.
They are also healthier and younger than the Bruins, Capitals, and Penguins coming in. So they stand a good chance of making the playoffs if things go well.