Rangers Roundup: Buyouts, Trades, and Free Agent Interviews
The St. Louis Blues are on the cusp of claiming their first Stanley Cup tonight. Whether they do or don’t, the NHL season will conclude no later than Wednesday, June 12th. Once the winning locker-room is all cleaned up and the champagne mopped off the floor, things will get real busy for the entire league.
Trades & Buyouts
The window for NHL buyouts should begin June 15th. News is already breaking that the L.A. Kings intend on buying out Dion Phaneuf if they can’t trade him. Over in Anaheim, the Ducks and Corey Perry have agreed to part ways. If the Ducks can’t trade him, they will look to buyout Perry.
As far as the Rangers are concerned, Brendan Smith is likely to be bought out as early as next weekend, freeing up an additional $3M in cap space. Rumors of Kevin Shattenkirk being bought out are poorly thought out, but the possibility of a trade remains. There is an outside chance that if Smith could be traded, buyout focus would shift to Marc Staal.
When it comes to trades, the Rangers may consider moving players like Chris Kreider, Vlad Namestnikov, and Jimmy Vesey in the right deals. One particular target Jeff Gorton will likely make a strong push for is Winnipeg defenseman, Jacob Trouba. If a deal can’t be reached before the opening bell of free agency, that focus will shift to signing Erik Karlsson.
Free Agent Interviews
NHL GM’s will be allowed to speak with pending UFA’s on June 23rd, two days after the draft ends. Three days later, the window to speak to pending RFA’s will open as well. During this timeframe teams can discuss interest but not contract details.
The Rangers are expected to speak with Artemi Panarin, Erik Karlsson, and Matt Duchene before July 1st. This of course does not ensure the signing of any of these UFA’s, and John Davidson is not going to mortgage the future to overpay and lock in someone for 7 years. Of the three top free agents, Panarin would be the target JD is most likely to closely meet the contract and years demand for.
On the RFA front, Davidson and Gorton are not going to present any offer sheets to the likes of Patrick Laine, Mitch Marner, or Mikko Rantanen. Aside from the fact that offer sheets are uncommon, a quick glance at the Rangers future lineup shows plenty of their own RFA’s to worry about.
Ultimately, as was relayed to me by a Rangers executive, “[There] Will be a lot happening in the next few weeks all around the league.” Get yourselves ready fans as news will be coming fast and furious.
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