NHL flat cap will test the mettle of Rangers GM, Jeff Gorton

Friends and NYR faithful, first I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. With the NHL ruling that the salary cap will remain flat for the next two seasons due to the financial hit from COVID-19, it creates a bit of a sticky wicket for NHL GMs. 

Jeff Gorton needs to manage the cap

Look I stand by this take, crying of the salary cap versus actually managing the cap is the difference between a good GM and Jason Botterill. That wasn’t nice, sorry Jason. Never the less, the Blueshirts have quite a daunting task ahead of them. No, not the pending 24 team playoff. How can the Rangers manage the cap with many players to be signed?

Asset management tool one: Trades

Trouba (Getty Images)

The first route is by trading big contracts/RFAs. The usual suspects are Tony DeAngelo, Jacob Trouba, Alexander Georgiev to all (potentially) get dealt. Plain and simple, the last two aren’t getting dealt. 

Trouba has had an inconsistent season on defense. Has he taken the next step as expected? Well, not exactly. Is he worth the eight sheets he’s getting for the next six years? Well not currently, but it’s 70 games into a 7 year deal so let’s not call it an albatross yet. His no trade clause kicks in on November 1st, but nevertheless he isn’t getting dealt regardless of the pipeline.

Alexandar Georgiev is the back up the team wants going forward. Do the Rangers have a plethora of goalie prospects, yes they do, but an Igor-Georgie tandem is the plan, he’s staying folks. 

Tony DeAngelo is the biggest question mark for me. Does it make sense to deal him? Absolutely. Does it make sense to sign him long term? Absolutely.

The right hand shot has been fantastic, obtaining half his career points in 68 games this year, and has finally lived up to the hype surrounding him in the 2014 draft. He probably was looking at a multi year deal for big dollars had the cap gone up. However, this isnt the case. Trading DeAngelo is a last resort, but certainly not the worst case scenario. 

Asset management tool two: buyouts

Look, the popular option is the ol’ buyout. This is the most favored fan option on the Bird app (twitter). I get it because Salary Cap money similar to my credit card, Venmo and Bitcoin, it’s fake money. However, Kevin Shattenkirk buyout last summer and Dan Girardi buyout in 2015, (to create cap to sign Shatty {yikes}), have the Rangers at $7.1 million in dead cap.

Thats more than Brayden Point is getting paid. To put it mildly, $7.1 mill could get you quite a player. Add more money to that you’re looking at an elite level contract going to NOBODY. Buyouts just don’t make sense to me, not in this economy. 

Jeff Gorton will need to be creative this offseason

Now let’s get creative folks, the Inevitable (Jeff Gorton) has done nothing but acquire all of the infinity stones (tradable assets). Now let’s take a look at the creative way that Rangers can become cap compliant and also create space for youth. 

Brendan Smith+Dal 3rd 2020+Buff 3rd 2021 to Ottawa for EDM 5th 2021

Look we can debate all we want about Smitty, but the guy has at least restored his name as an NHLer. With only one year left on his deal Smith would be Ottawa’s 3rd best defenseman under contract and $4.25 million for one season and two thirds is a sweet deal. Not to mention Ottawa has to reach the cap floor anyway. 

Buchnevich to Nashville for Tolvanen+2021 2nd

Buch had a wonderful year this year. Not to mention he has the second best (first if you ask me) celly for the Rangers. 

But he’s going to hit RFA with arbitration rights after next year and he’ll be due for a raise along with Chytil, Lindgren, Howden, Gauthier, and Shesterkin. Making this trade and buying low on a once highly touted prospect as well as a pick would be a wise move by Gorton. No this is not Buch slander, I love him and his GOATee. 

These moves free up an extra $7.6 million AND frees up a spot on defense for a Hajek type and a forward spot for a Kravtsov type. A player like Lias Andersson could be used as a sweetener for either deal. 

Asset management might be the hardest but best way to both continue to grow the Rangers and stay under the cap restrictions. Hate this idea? Well not to brag but I’ve won the Cup many times in NHL 20 GM mode, I KNOW what I’m talking about here. 

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