Rangers actually weighing a Shattenkirk buyout
Yesterday I reacted to Larry Brooks’ latest cap crunch story with an article stating that a Kevin Shattenkirk buyout was unlikely. While I still feel strongly that it isn’t one of the Rangers top options, recent discussions late last night with someone in the know have me rethinking my convictions.
Running Out of Options
The Rangers have locked up both Jacob Trouba and Pavel Buchnevich to deals. This now leaves them with 2 remaining RFAs (w/o arbitration rights) in Tony DeAngelo and Brendan Lemieux to sign. If each agree to deals around $1M apiece for 1 year, that Rangers would need to find about $6.5M in cap space via trades and buyouts.*
Jeff Gorton’s preferred route would be trades, but he is having a hard time finding takers for Vlad Namestnikov right now. That would be $4M off the books if done. I believe the Rangers would be willing to retain about 1 to 1.5 of his salary, but there still hasn’t been a real bite yet. If they can pull a deal off and then buyout Brendan Smith, that would clear about $6 to $6.5M and accomplish their goal of retaining Chris Kreider for this season.
Shattenkirk buyout is the rock and a hard place
As we noted yesterday, a Shattenkirk buyout saves them $5.167M heading into next season, but leaves them with $6M in dead cap space the year after, and another $1.4M for 2 more season until 2023. The Rangers currently have $3.9M in dead cap space due to the buyout of Dan Girardi ($3.611) and salary retention of Ryan Spooner ($300K). However, next season Girardi’s penalty drops to $1.1M to soften the blow. That means, the Rangers could make it work per my source.
This is the proverbial “rock and a hard place” scenario. That means the Rangers could not find a taker for Namestnikov even with some salary retention. Also, $5.1M isn’t likely enough to sign both DeAngelo and Lemieux with some cap space for call-ups. Which indicates another deal has to happen. When you look at the roster, the player next in line for a trade is Ryan Strome.
Here is the one scenario no one has really touched. We know the Rangers now have 4 righty d-men in Trouba, Fox, Shattenkirk, and DeAngelo. If the Rangers were to trade DeAngelo, that would help with the logjam on that side. It also means they only need about $5M in space for Lemieux and a call-up. That could be accomplished with a Smith buyout and Strome trade.
So why DeAngelo? Because the Rangers believe right handed prospect Nils Lundkvist is the future of the blue-line and with Fox and Trouba pegged for spots already, this will need to be addressed sooner than many think.