Rangers Rumors: Is anything brewing before free agency?

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New Jersey Devils at New York Rangers
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The New York Rangers don’t have much cap space to play with when the NHL’s Free Agent season begins on July 1.

That being said, there’s very little information out there regarding the Blueshirts except news that all their UFA’s will be hitting the open market tomorrow.

Forwards Patrick Kane, Vladimir Tarasenko, Tyler Motte, along with defenseman Niko Mikkola and goalie Jaroslav Halak are very unlikely to return. Instead, the Rangers will put all their focus on re-signing both key RFA’s Alexis Lafreniere and K’Andre Miller.

Let’s assess the latest rumors on the Blueshirts.

Rangers Rumors: Latest Rumblings

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Cap Space: $11,762,917
Roster Size: 14 out of a possible 23 players signed
Forward Needs: 4-5 (Alexis Lafreniere and at least 3 more)
Defense Needs: 1-2 (K’Andre Miller and one more if Zac Jones isn’t on the roster)
Goalie Needs: 1 (Must call up or sign a back-up)

As you can see by the information above, the Rangers are in quite the pickle and will have approximately half the cap space shown after inking both Lafreniere and Miller to new deals.

How can the Rangers get more cap space?

There’s really only one way the Rangers can find a few more dollars and that would be by trading the only veteran that doesn’t have a full no-move clause this summer: Barclay Goodrow.

Considering that the NHL Draft has now passed, it’s unlikely Goodrow would be traded leaving only one option. Today is the last day the Rangers can exercise a buyout before free agency opens tomorrow. If they choose to do so, here’s how the buyout will impact the salary cap for next season until 2030-31.

Deal: $3.64M AAV (modified no-trade / 4 years remaining)
Buyout Savings: $3.841M (2023-24), $3.7M (2024-25), $2.491M (2025-26)
Buyout Penalty: $8K (2026-27), $1,258,333 (following 4 seasons)

So will it happen? At this point, it doesn’t seem likely since the Rangers value what Goodrow brings both on and off the ice. Of course, if Chris Drury already expects Miller may command a new deal at around $4 million AAV, we could see Goodrow hit the waiver wire for a buyout.

UPDATE: Barclay Goodrow was not placed on waivers and will not be bought out.

Possible Free Agent Signings

This could very well be the quietest free agent season for the Blueshirts in recent memory. Matter of fact, the only real chatter regarding the signing of a UFA is veteran goalie Jonathan Quick.

The 37 year-old backstop has had a remarkable career and won the Stanley Cup with the Los Angeles Kings in 2012 and 2014. Rangers fans will painfully remember his second title because it came at the expense of their beloved Blueshirts and Henrik Lundqvist. Quick was also a member of the Vegas Golden Knights championship squad this year, but did not play in the playoffs.

If the Rangers can get him to take a one-year deal at around $1 million AAV, then it’s possible. Considering the cap crunch, Hartford Wolf Pack goalie Louis Domingue and his $775,000 AAV makes more sense.

Domingue, 31, was a big reason why Hartford ended a long playoff drought dating back to the 2014-15 campaign. He did so by posting a record of 22-12-8 record with 4 shutouts, a 2.51 GAA, and a .911 save percentage.

As for a reunion with Jesper Fast, that can be put to bed since speculation indicates he’s looking for a deal with at least 3-4 years of term.

For the most part, the Rangers are likely looking for bottom-six forwards willing to take a 1-2 year deal and under $1.5 million. That’s going to rule out a lot of free agents but depending on how the market shakes out, there could be options later this summer. Especially some nice PTO candidates heading into training camp.

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

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