Ryan Lindgren injury highlights New York Rangers salary cap bind
The New York Rangers are already dealing with salary cap issues, just two games into the 2023-24 campaign. Per PuckPedia, the Rangers have just $696,862 in cap space, which makes it like walking a tightrope to navigate the roster.
What’s going on with defenseman Ryan Lindgren is a prime example of hard it will be for the team to deal with injury issues this season.
Update: Ryan Lindgren is a game-time decision
New York Rangers salary cap bind
Currently, the Rangers are waiting for word on the extent of Lindgren’s upper-body injury suffered in their season-opening win against the Buffalo Sabres. Due to their limited cap space, they are unable to recall Ben Harpur, who has an AAV of $787,500, even though Lindgren missed Saturday’s loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets and the team has a roster spot available.
This is reminiscent of what happened last season when Lindgren went down with a shoulder injury in late February. Management was hesitant to put him on Long Term Injured Reserve (LTIR) in order to get some cap relief, because a stint on that list means he must miss a minimum of 10 games and 24 days.
Lindgren, 25, is in the final year of a three-year deal he signed May 10, 2021 worth $3 million per season. He will be an restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer.
Of course, New York isn’t the only team dealing with salary cap issues, as two teams (Kings and Senators) started the season dressing 19 players instead of the standard 20 to be cap compliant.
Overall, 20 out of the NHL’s 32 teams have under $1 million in cap space to work with.
One final note, since cap space is accrued during the year, if the Rangers make no roster moves, they will be able to trade for a player with an approximate $3 million AAV at the NHL Trade Deadline on March 8. Despite it being so early in the year, that also means a potential deal for a player making close to $6 million per season if the trading team is willing to eat 50% of the cap hit.
I’m sure that will get some fans thinking of a reunion with Vladimir Tarasenko, who signed a one-year deal with the Senators for $5 million.