NHL Insider says this Rangers forward among top buyout candidates

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at New York Rangers
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When it comes to potential contract buyout candidates on the New York Rangers this offseason, most attention is focused on captain Jacob Trouba because of his $8 million cap hit. However, a noted NHL Insider believes there’s another Blueshirt more likely to be bought out if the Rangers go that route to create more maneuverability under the salary cap.

Frank Seravelli lists Rangers forward Barclay Goodrow as the third most likely player to have his contract bought out this offseason. The 31-year-old still has three years at $3.6 million per remaining on his deal with the Rangers, which is hefty for a fourth-line player, even one who’s a respected leader and two-time Stanley Cup champion.

“He does his job, and he does it well, but his contract throws New York’s cap balance out of whack,” Seravelli wrote in a recent column. “Couple that with the fact that the Rangers could buy him out this month and not only not have a penalty, but a unique salary cap credit of $247,222 next season to effectively increase their cap to $88.247 million? That feels like a no-brainer.”

That credit this season, plus the cap savings on his contract, could be invaluable since the Rangers have barely $10 million in projected cap space next season. They need to re-sign Ryan Lindgren, a pending restricted free agent with arbitration rights who can become an unrestricted free agent at the end of 2024-25. Also, Braden Schneider is an RFA, though he likely will get around $2 million per on a bridge deal. Lindgren is the bigger expense.

The Rangers will also need to add a top-six right wing and at least one defenseman this offseason. New York already re-signed Kaapo Kakko, who was a pending RFA, to a one-year, $2.4 million contract.

Related: Here’s what’s next for Rangers, Kaapo Kakko after one-year agreement

The Rangers could consider buying out Barclay Goodrow’s contract

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Florida Panthers at New York Rangers
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

If the Rangers did buy out Goodrow’s contract this offseason, they’d have $1 million or so in dead money on the 2025-26 cap and $3.505 million the following season, though the salary cap arguably could be $10 million higher by that point. The following three seasons, the Rangers would carry $1.11 million in dead money.

Goodrow proved his worth to the Rangers this past postseason. He scored six goals, including the OT winner in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Florida Panthers, in 16 games. He was one of the few Blueshirts who raised his level of play significantly when things got tough the longer the playoffs went on.

However, in 80 regular-season games, Goodrow had four goals and 12 points, a 19-point drop off from the prior season. He remained an effective penalty killer and fourth-line checker, but his salary is out of whack with his overall production.

The Rangers could also buy out Trouba, which would cut his cap hit in half (to $4 million per year) and provide $2 million in dead money the two seasons after his contract expires. Though his played has dipped, it’d be a difficult decision to move on from Trouba just two seasons after naming him captain. Then on the other side, there’s a good chance the 31-year-old will be an $8 million defenseman playing on the third pair in 2024-25 if the Rangers keep him.

These coming weeks will be fascinating to see how Chris Drury and Co. improve the roster and contend with the salary cap.

Rounding out the top three in Seravelli’s list of NHL buyout candidates are Pierre-Luc Dubois of the Los Angeles Kings (No. 1) and Jack Campbell of the Edmonton Oilers (No. 2).

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny

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