Rangers draft day trades all based on cap constraints

Thank you Talbot and Hagelin (Getty)

Thank you Talbot and Hagelin (Getty)

Farewell Carl Hagelin and Cam Talbot. Two Rangers that played extremely well for the Blueshirts over the last few seasons. In their place are Emerson Etem and Antti Raanta, both of whom are younger and cheaper.

The writing was on the wall with just a little over 11M to sign Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin, Jesper Fast, and J.T. Miller. In addition the Rangers need to make room Oscar Lindberg and sign a 7th defenseman. Talbot’s desire to be a #1 and pending UFA status in 2016 was a no brainer to move. Hagelin on the other hand was the question mark.

Carl Hagelin made 2.25M and was looking for an increase around 4M. Etem on the other hand made 810K last year and is a RFA. The Rangers could give him a bridge deal for the next 2 seasons at around 1.5M, a savings on the cap of 2.5M over Hagelin.

“Hags has been a great Ranger,” assistant GM, Jeff Gorton said. “This is the nature of the beast. We have a player who’s contract is up and a number of players we have to fit in,” he explained on why Hagelin was moved.

The Rangers saw a chance to use Hagelin to obtain a younger player with offensive upside and with more cost control. They got it in the shape of Emerson Etem and the #41 pick of the draft which they used on Ryan Gropp.

Emerson Etem

Emerson Etem

“Emerson Etem ended up being one of the players and we were able to make the deal,” Gorton divulged. Being one of those players meant, younger with upside. Citing his speed, shot, back checking ability and history of scoring in juniors, Gorton expressed Etem could fit into the Rangers top 9.

The Rangers used prospect Ryan Haggerty to acquire a new backup for Henrik Lundqvist. Antti Raanta was the odd man out in Chicago once Scott Darling performed so admirably in the playoffs. The 26 year old Finnish net minder has a cap hit of 750K and will be an UFA next summer. Once again, this saves the Rangers 700K from Talbot’s 1.45M. In one day the Rangers gained over 3M in cap space and 8.25M with Martin St. Louis not returning.

Talbot was moved to Edmonton as expected but not for the haul everyone thought. Gorton admitted that the market shifted on the Rangers once Robin Lehner and Eddie Lack were traded before Talbot. While it wasn’t what they were offered earlier, they were happy with the 3 picks.

When you step back and realize how the Rangers were up against it due to the cap, you realize that they did a good job. While they lost Hagelin’s speed, they did pick up some size in Etem. We all loved Talbot, but Raanta is no slouch with a career 2.41 GAA and .912 SV%.

This is the cap era and these are the realities all teams face. Jeff Gorton was asked about that and the RFA’s the Rangers still have to deal with. “Is it doable? Everything is doable,” Gorton explained. “We have a good idea of what they are looking for.”

Soon, we all will too.


Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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