New CBA extension with flat cap may force Rangers to buyout Henrik Lundqvist

The pandemic has already wrecked havoc on so many businesses and industries, and it will touch another group soon. Sports leagues have already cut staff, reduced pay, and flat out let people go whose jobs may not come back. Once the NHL and NHLPA pass the new CBA which does not raise the cap ceiling, many teams will be forced to find that space in other ways.

The Rangers and their salary cap issues

After deciding to keep Chris Kreider to the tune of $6.5M, the Rangers made their available cap money for RFA’s a lot less. You can forget keeping UFA, Jesper Fast at this point. Jeff Gorton has to do everything in his power to keep Ryan Strome, Tony DeAngelo. Same for Brendan Lemieux and Alexandar Georgiev.

Next season they will have 15 players under contract and only around $14M to sign those four RFA players and fill out the roster. That can be done a little easier with inexpensive young players like Vitali Kravtsov and Libor Hajek moving up. That would leave $12M which most will be eaten up by both Ryan Strome and Tony DeAngelo.

Henrik Lundqvist Buyout

Henrik Lundqvist and Mika Zibanejad (Getty Images)

There is now one easy way for the Rangers to make more cap space and it is also one of the saddest. The new CBA will make the buyout out of Henrik Lundqvist now inevitable and a matter of pure economics.

For those who think the Rangers can trade him, the contenders that may be interested will have the same cap problems. Retaining half his salary won’t do much to move the needle either.

The savings would only be $3M off his current $8.5M leaving the Rangers with $5.5M in dead cap space next season and a penalty of $1.5M off the their cap in 2021-22. Sadly there will not be any compliance buyouts for full cap relief. And while the savings are meager, it may the only way to field a full and competitive lineup next season.