Rangers call up Riley Nash, why not Brennan Othmann?

The New York Rangers have called up veteran forward Riley Nash just in case Barclay Goodrow is unable to play Saturday against the Washington Capitals. However, a lot of fans are asking why not star prospect Brennan Othmann?

Like everything else in life, the answer is never simple.

On the one hand, there’s an argument to let Othmann continue to develop in the AHL where he’s currently lighting it up with 7 goals and 11 points in his last 8 games. The other is more likely due to the salary cap.

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Will the Rangers call up Brennan Othmann?

Brennan Othmann
Brennan Othmann leads Wolf Pack to win (Photo: John Mrakovcich / Hartford Wolf Pack)

Othmann, 20, had a slow start to his first pro season, but his strong play of late has his numbers up to 18 points (9 goals, 9 assists) in 21 matches.

“During that cold streak I was playing good hockey but not my best,” Othmann mentioned after a weekend sweep of Lehigh Valley. “Guys were telling me to stick with it and to shoot the puck… I’m starting to learn the pro style and details.”

Right now, Othmann is in a groove where he’s playing top-six and number one power play minutes. If the Rangers call him up, he most assuredly will be placed in a bottom-six role and unlikely to see any power play time. Not exactly why they drafted him in the first-round of the 2021 draft.

Of course, there’s also the salary cap issue. While they are fighting to accrue cap space for the trade deadline, mounting injuries have been making that harder to do.

Othmann is in the first year of his entry-level contract that comes with an AAV of $863,333 per CapFriendly. That’s nearly $100,000 more than Nash, who makes $775,000.

“It comes down to dollars and cents sometimes,” Dan Rosen told Forever Blueshirts. “Let’s see this young, promising and potential star forward play his first season of professional hockey (in Hartford) and thrive. Plus, it’s $100,000 more that has to go on their cap and they won’t have later on.”

At this rate, the Rangers are going to have well under $1 million in cap space come the NHL Trade Deadline. Which means they will be limited as to what they can do, since a million in cap space is equal to acquiring a player with an AAV of around $4.5 million. That’s why every penny is going to count.

Meanwhile, Nash does have 627 games of NHL experience and has been playing well in Hartford. The 34 year-old currently sits with 19 points (9 goals, 10 assists) in 20 games for the Pack this season. Should the Rangers need him to step in on the third or fourth line, they can slot him in with little concern about how he will fit in.

At the end of the day, we can’t rule out Othmann playing on Broadway this season. If Kaapo Kakko or Filip Chytil are going to be out well past the New Year, it’s possible he’ll get a look. For now, let him continue to dominate the AHL and prepare for a much bigger role next year.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore