What an ideal Rangers summer can look like

AP

In what we all expect to an extremely exciting summer for the Blueshirts, GM Jeff Gorton and Rangers brass have a ton of options on the table. In a recent post by our very own Stat Boy Steven, he discussed a possible trade with the Leafs. To summarize, he said that since the Rangers have some cap flexibility, they should do a similar move to what the Hurricanes did with the Blackhawks when they acquired Teuvo Teravainen.

In the end, the move Steve came up with was the Rangers sending a couple of mid-level picks to the Leafs for Patrick Marleau and Kasperi Kapanen. The Rangers would then buyout Marleau’s $6.25 million hit, and sign Kapanen, who is an RFA. For more details on this trade, check out Steve’s post. Here is what Gorton can do this summer to continue what seems to be an early hot streak this off-season….

With a few new rookie toys in Kravtsov, Shesterkin, and Fox signing their entry-level contracts last week, the Rangers currently have just below $17 million in cap room. With the cap expected to jump ~$2 million, that puts the Blueshirts at around $19 million. With RFAs in Buchnevich, DeAngelo, Lemieux, and Pionk, and what we all expect to be a major run at UFA winger Artemi Panarin, how is it possible that Gorton can fit all of these players with just around $19 million in cap?

Cap Games

To start off the moves, the Rangers would need to buyout Brendan Smith. In a buyout, the Rangers would save $3.379 million next year, upping their cap to now ~$21 million. Next, Vesey, Strome, and Namestnikov would have to be moved for mid to late round draft picks. All three players have one more year left on their contracts and will become UFAs next summer. I also think that all three would be assets to a cup contending team for say a 4th or 5th round pick slotted in their bottom-6, especially because of how cheap they are. Vesey has a cap hit of $2.275 million, Strome $3.1 million, and Namestnikov $4m. They would fit great on a team like Carolina who has tons of cap space, and currently a competitive club.

Editor’s Note: Strome is an RFA

With the trade-offs of those three players, the Rangers would save another $9.375 million. That would bring their total cap to ~$30 million. Finally, the Rangers would need to find a suitor for Kevin Shattenkirk. Many feel that he is a liability, but he certainly is not. I think that the Rangers would be able to move Shattenkirk if they were to retain something like 30% of his deal (or around $2 million). This move would save the Rangers another $4.65 million, bringing their total to about $35 million. The Rangers would also have to move on from Neil Pionk because he is due for a new contract. So how does Gorton allocate this money….?

Crystal Balling

Before I give these projections, I want to be clear that this is exactly what they are….projections! Let’s take a look:

Artemi Panarin – 7 years, $11 million AAV

Pavel Buchnevich – 5 years, $5.5 million AAV

Kasperi Kapanen – 6 years, $5 million AAV

Brendan Lemieux – 3 years, $1.7 million AAV

Tony DeAngelo – 3 years, $2.75 million AAV

Patrick Marleau (buyout) – 1 year, $6.25 million AAV

With these moves, the total for these players would be $32.2 million…..just a hair below what I project the Rangers to have. Also keep in mind they need to keep $925k free for either one of Jack Hughes or Kaapo Kakko.