With the NHL roster deadline locked in on Wednesday, the New York Rangers appear to have their opening night lineup set.
The New York Rangers might have made significant moves in the offseason and in training camp to solidify their team, but with these moves also comes a tight salary cap situation.
Per Capfriendly.com, the Rangers have 22 players on their roster. Jesper Fast is listed on the injured reserve list until his return from hip surgery. Their available cap space is $1,550,556 million. That doesn’t leave a lot of money to get another player to join the team if the Rangers need one.
Current list Of New York Rangers:
- Rick Nash, Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Mats Zuccarello, J.T. Miller, Kevin Hayes, Michael Grabner, David Desharnais, Filip Chytil, Pavel Buchnevich, Jimmy Vesey and Paul Carey. Jesper Fast – IR
- Kevin Shattenkirk, Marc Staal, Ryan McDonagh, Brendan Smith, Nick Holden, Brady Skjei, Anthony DeAngelo and Steven Kampfer.
Head coach Alain Vigneault has not come out and said what kind of roster he would like. Some teams will carry seven defensemen and 13 forwards, while some could go with six defensemen and 14 forwards. It all depends on what the head coach and general manager of each team decide to go with. The problem that the Rangers have is the salary cap and waiver situation may hinder the players the team may want to carry into the season.
The organization could get rid of some salary if they sent Kampfer or Holden to the minors. Holden is making $1.65 million this season and could free up some much-needed cap space. The problem with either of these moves is that both players would need to clear waivers in order to go down to the American Hockey League. Would the Rangers want to risk losing either of these players for nothing?
Apparently, the organization is still trying to figure out all of their options. As of Monday, no move was the right move, at least with regards to placing any players on waivers. The NHL waiver list was released and there were no New York Rangers on it.
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The Rangers are in a little bit of a pickle right now. They only have 12 forwards in their lineup (Fast excluded). This is good enough to support the four lines they will roll in the beginning of the season. If the team is unable to make a trade to help free up space, the Rangers will have to make a decision with first-round pick Filip Chytil by October 21. This date represents the ninth game of the season, at which time the team will have to decide if they are keeping Chytil on the roster. He is making $925,000 this season. If he is sent back to his team, that salary is freed up against the cap and Fast can return to the lineup with no other moves needed. Otherwise, the Rangers will have to find a way to free up cap space so that Fast can come off the injured reserve list.
This is not a new problem for the Rangers. The salary cap issue has been here since the summer began, but it was hidden thanks to the trades and signings the team made, with rookies playing exciting preseason hockey helping as well. But with the roster deadline approaching, it is now out in the open.
The Rangers have a few options, but all come with some risk. Hockey is more than a game of players and coaches. The business side is the hard part, and sometimes, no matter how you try to work it all out, teams may have to make moves they really don’t want to in order to put the starting team out on the ice.
Either way, this will be resolved, for now, by Thursday evening.