We have looked at the salary cap several times over the past couple months and with Nik Zherdev’s decision yesterday, it presents an opportune time to once again evaluate the numbers.
Unlike years past, the Rangers have ample cap space left to make a move or two with a little over a month left before the season. However, while their cap is fairly flexible, they lack a good number of signed definitive roster players.
While the numbers of players work, the Rangers are relying heavily on unproven talent.
Blueshirt fan and math-fiend Greg Donahue helps us evaluate where the Rangers currently stand:
Chris Drury, C - $7.05 million
Marian Gaborik, W - $7.5 million
Ales Kotalik, W - $3 million
Ryan Callahan, W - $2.3 million
Chris Higgins, W - $2.25 million
Donald Brashear, W - $1.4 million
Aaron Voros, W - $1 million
Sean Avery, W - $1.938 million
Tyler Arnason, C - $700,000
Enver Lisin, W - $790,000
Still to be signed: Brandon Dubinsky, C
Possible Rookie: Artem Anisimov, C - $821,777
So the forwards core has enough wingers (8) if Lisin and Voros remain with the team. Of those players, Lisin, Arnason, and Voros truly haven’t proven themselves at the NHL level.
Yet, while the wings appear to be addressed, the Rangers are short on the center position with only Drury and Arnason signed at this point. If and when Dubinsky signs, the Rangers will have three centers though none truly capable of playing first line. Artem Anisimov is likely to jump up to fill a center role, therefore delegating Dubinsky as top center.
Without Dubinsky and including Anisimov, the Rangers have $28.75 million committed to 11 players. With the cap at $56.8 million, this leaves the Rangers with about $28.05 million before looking at the defense.
Wade Redden, D - $6.5 million
Michal Rozsival, D - $5 million
Dan Girardi, D - $1.55 million
Marc Staal, D - $827,000
Corey Potter, D - $550,000
Mike Sauer, D - $846,667
Matt Gilroy, D - $1.75 million
Defense is the most interesting part of the Rangers cap situation. They have four starters signed and a lot of rookies who can fill the remaining three positions, but are all three really ready for the NHL?
It is safe to assume that Gilroy will start with the Rangers and his $1.75 million will be on the books. I would also presume that Sauer stands a better chance than Potter, despite Sauer’s injury last season. So if we count both Gilroy and Sauer against the cap, the Rangers have six defenseman committed to $16.47 million in cap space.
The remaining cap number: $11.58 million
Goaltending accounts for a total hit of $7.6 million bringing the grand total of remaining cap space to $3.98 million.
So with this near $4 million in available cap space, the Rangers need a veteran defenseman and to sign Dubinsky.
Where GM Glen Sather was smart is that he has enough flexibility with his players to send a considerable amount of money to Hartford to make a decent signing or trade. Or if he needs to find a little wiggle room he can send a million dollar player like Voros down and replace him with a similar player such as Dane Byers.