Potential for Lemieux and DeAngelo holdout increases daily
The clock is ticking on getting both Brendan Lemieux and Tony DeAngelo signed and in camp by September 12th. Should the Rangers and their two RFA’s fail to reach deals by that date, no one should expect to see either report to training camp.
Qualifying Offers Won’t Cut It
It boggles the mind to see articles written out there assuming that either RFA has no choice but to play for their qualifying offers. If that was the case, don’t you think that both DeAngelo and Lemieux would’ve signed them by now? Thus far, from everything I have learned on the situation those qualifying offers just won’t cut it.
The Rangers have only about $1M in cap space right now but with some AHL moves to be made, it’s closer to $3M (sending Beleskey, McKegg and Smith down). That still isn’t enough to sign them both, add a 7th defenseman and leave breathing room for call ups. That’s why a trade is inevitable and likely to happen before opening night.
Holding Out Seems Likely
Jeff Gorton has to find a taker for either Brendan Smith, Vlad Namestnikov or Ryan Strome. Any one of those players being moved, even with some salary retention will give them enough room to sign both RFAs. He could also just sign them now and go over the cap (up to 10%), but doing so will put his back up against the wall to get cap compliant come opening night.
Imagine being over the cap a few days before the season starts and every GM knowing it. Rival GM’s will be waiting to jump on the only true asset the Rangers have up for trade and get Chris Kreider for a song. It’s that scenario that will keep Gorton from prematurely inking his RFAs. Couple that with the fact that neither DeAngelo or Lemieux look like they will be inking those qualifying offers and the sum of the equation equals holdouts.