Taking Advantage of Cap Hell: New York Rangers Edition

This is going to be a difficult summer for many teams thanks to a salary cap which has risen by less than expected early in the year. For a team like the Edmonton Oilers, there’s a chance to land talent from a team in cap trouble.

Taking Advantage of Cap Hell is dedicated to looking at clubs reportedly in cap trouble and figuring out who might shake loose. Today we turn to a team that came up in this week’s mailbag: the New York Rangers.

Previously in this series:

The Depth Chart

We don’t know what upgrades New York might attempt to make in the offseason; I’ve assumed that all current unrestricted free agents are allowed to walk and employed cheap filler players to populate the bottom of the roster for the purposes of this scenario.

Here’s what next year’s team currently looks like.

Left Wing Centre Right Wing L. Defence / Goal R. Defence / Goal
Rick Nash Derek Stepan Mats Zuccarello Ryan McDonagh Dan Girardi
$7,800,000 RFA $4,500,000 $4,700,000 $5,500,000
Chris Kreider Derick Brassard Kevin Hayes Marc Staal Dan Boyle
$2,475,000 $5,000,000 $900,000 $5,700,000 $4,500,000
Carl Hagelin Dominic Moore Jesper Fast Keith Yandle Kevin Klein
RFA $1,500,000 RFA $2,625,000 $2,900,000
Tanner Glass J.T. Miller Filler   Chris Summers
$1,450,000 RFA $900,000   $600,000
Filler Filler   Henrik Lundqvist Cam Talbot
$800,000 $800,000   $8,500,000 $1,450,000

Total Cap Hit: $62.6 million

Total Cap Space Remaining: $8.4 million (based on Gary Bettman’s latest estimate of a $71 million cap)

New York has four significant RFA’s, with Derek Stepan the most notable of a quartet that also includes Carl Hagelin, J.T. Miller and Jesper Fast.

Stepan is going to cost a lot to get under contract. The 24-year-old has emerged as New York’s top centre, he’s in the heart of his career and with his bridge deal now over New York has to buy up a bunch of unrestricted years or risk losing him.

A fun Oilers comparison is to Jordan Eberle. Eberle has 284 points in 356 games, while Stepan has 252 points in 362 games. Add in that Stepan is a tough minutes centre and one would think that Eberle money is reasonable compensation, though we also have to add in that the Rangers are buying up more unrestricted years and that Edmonton got a little trigger-happy on Eberle after a breakthrough 2011-12 campaign.

A deal in the $5.5 million range would be a big hometown discount for the Rangers. Something in the $6.0 million range is probably reasonable. Something in the $6.5 million range is entirely possible.

If we pencil in Stepan as a $6.0 million cap hit, that leaves just $2.4 million for the trio of Hagelin, Miller and Fast; Hagelin alone has a $2.25 million cap hit at present while Miller and Fast are both looking at raises coming out of their entry-level deals.

New York will need to make sacrifices.

Targets for Edmonton

Cam Talbot is an obvious target for Edmonton, and with just one year left on his deal prior to reaching unrestricted free agency he’s an obvious choice for New York to move. I like him as an option for Edmonton, and the acquisition price isn’t likely to be higher than a second-round pick. Dealing Talbot doesn’t fix the Rangers’ cap problems because he’s relatively cheap, but the Oilers could do something like dealing a third-round pick and Ben Scrivens while retaining 50 percent of Scrivens’ salary, which would clear $300,000 for New York. Alternatively, the Rangers could move Talbot and either promote promising goalie MacKenzie Skaspki or try and sign a veteran No. 2 on the cheap, thereby clearing between $500,000 and $750,000.

On defence, the Rangers won’t deal Ryan McDonagh, who is a massive bargain. I’d be very surprised if they dealt Marc Staal, either. Kevin Klein is basically their version of Mark Fayne, so that isn’t a fit for Edmonton. Keith Yandle is a pending UFA who will cost a lot to acquire from Edmonton’s persepctice and isn’t really a cap drain from New York’s; it would be a surprise if he was moved.

Dan Girardi is one of those guys New York probably doesn’t want to deal and Edmonton should have some reservations about anyway. From the Rangers’ perspective he’s part of the core and part of an effective top pairing. From Edmonton’s perspective he’s old and on a rich long-term deal that will be a challenge in later years, plus his performance away from McDonagh raises some doubts.

Dan Boyle’s interesting. Obviously, he’s not a long-term fit. But he has just one year left on his deal, long history with coach Todd McLellan and as a mentor/stop-gap on the right side he might be interesting to Edmonton next season. From New York’s perspective, the addition of Yandle adds a new power play point man and $4.5 million is a lot to pay for a guy who is a bit of a luxury on the current blue line.

Of the forwards, the one guy New York might not be able to afford who probably should be of interest to Edmonton is Carl Hagelin. He’s not big, but otherwise he’s pretty much a perfect fit. He’s lightning fast – Cogliano fast, even, and he’s not afraid to take or make a hit. He’s a responsible two-way guy and a key piece in the Rangers’ penalty kill. He has underrated offensive skill and is an excellent scorer at even-strength; over the past four years he’s been as likely to score in a minute of five-on-five play as Zach Parise or Joe Pavelski. At 26 years of age and with four seasons under his belt, he’s the kind of young veteran who is a perfect match for Edmonton’s core while delivering the speed, five-on-five scoring and defensive responsibility the team needs. He’d be a great fit behind Taylor Hall and Benoit Pouliot at left wing.


  • BigMcD

    NYR have no reason to trade Talbot and does not address their cap issue enough.

    McDonough for 16th + Marancin + Ferrance (at 1/2 salary) helps both teams. 3-4 high prospect Dmen in draft ranked around there. NYR fill with experience dman and a decent prospect early in career. Still have strong D ( not as strong) but can sign all RFA’s and keep Talbot too.

  • BigMcD

    Marc Staal and Cam Talbot. Wonder if New York would bite for the 16th pick (Pit) to start with. Staal would give us our top 4 D for now (at a reasonable $$$$ cap hit) It will give Nurse,Klefbom more time to develop. New York would then free up at least $7 mill on cap space. I would try and trade/buy out Ference and NN.

    • bradleypi

      I wouldn’t trade the 16th pick for an aging physical dman who doesn’t produce points. Isn’t that faynes job? There’s a real possibility to pluck a gem outta that 16 hole. Not a chance I’d trade it unless a webber or Keith or Seabrook are coming back. I’d be laughing all the way to the draft after the way Mact fleeced that pick outta the pens for prima Donna perron. Hands down best trade Mact made for sure!

      • passelin

        I’ll admit the Perron trade looks better now then it did at the time but I still don’t like it. Perron had some sandpaper. We gave up a top 6 winger at the top of his game (arguable) for something 3-5 years into the future – when our future was/is NOW.

        Only reasonable explanation for me in that move was managing the cap – somehow I doubt that was the reason.

        • passelin

          Don’t know if Perron was injured but he looked like the slowest player on the ice in the Ranger and Pens series. Seems to be losing his foot speed at an alarming rate. I liked his grit too but he took way too many nights off imo. Great deal for Oilers. Pens hate that deal right now i bet.

        • bradleypi

          The trade happened because perron had only 5 goals and most definitely wasn’t playing with this “sandpaper” you speak of. If you think perron is such a good player answer me this…Is pittsburghs search for a winger to play with Crosby over now that they have perron? And remember that they barely squeaked into the playoffs and went on to get schooled by their rivals. Without as much as a peep from prima Donna perron. I’m glad he’s the pens problem

      • Petrolero

        We need to start winning NOW. 16th pick might take at least 3-4 years to show up. Can we wait that long? Webber,Keith or Seabrook would cost us the moon (Nuge/McDavid/Hall/Eberle) Staal cant be that old, we need HEAVY, physical D that can play. Jultzz not working out so well. Besides you already got McDavid!

        • bradleypi

          Not trying to say that jultz is the second coming of anything but he’s an offensive minded dman. Not sure why oilersnation thought he was gonna magically turn into a defensive minded juggernaut?..? He’s an offensive dman on a team full of offensive forwards that couldn’t find a way to put thd puck in the net. (Eakins sucked the offense right outta these guys imo). While I agree that a player like stall is a player the Oilers desperately need, I wouldn’t give up that pick for him. The oil are eventually gonna have to trade one of the wonder kids up front due to salary reasons, wouldn’t it be nice to have some talent in the system for when that happens? Plus imo the Oilers defence will be much improved under a real coach. I don’t think the older guys on d are as bad as oilersnation thinks they are. Trading 1st round picks to just try to get into thd playoffs is foolish imo. Save those trades for deep playoff runs.

        • Don’t get short sighted about winning now if there is a deal to be made make it but in the deep draft the pick value is higher than ever. The point of making a deal with teams in cap hell is that we can get good players for relatively nothing because we have the cap space. Three years down the road that’s probly the oilers

  • passelin

    I’d rather the Oilers go after someone like Old Man Chara. Now before you slam me listen for minute, he is old and mean. He has guided a team to the cup finals more then once. I think he can really tutor the incoming young core on how to win and how to play mean. One maybe two years from this guy gives guys like Nurse and Marancin find swagger in their game. Chara is one of the last of the true warriors in the NHL and I think he can be had on the cheap. Maybe a third rounder and a prospect.

  • passelin

    Yes, having One skill guy to give us what we hoped would come with Schultz would be good – that guy is not Boyle.

    What we need on the D is toughness -hit, fight, clear the net – needed to make up for the lack up front. It’s where the “team toughness” is going to come from. We have plenty of skill.

    Hard on the stick or whatever is great, but if we’re not going to play Gazdic almost every night, we need some heavy cause Hendricks can’t do it all himself.

    Remember Jeff Beukeboom, Craig Muni, Dave Manson, Sean Brown, Bryan Marchment, Igor Ulanov, Jason Smith – now that’s what I’m talking about.

  • camdog

    Sather may offer up Hagelin and Talbot if the Oilers throw in a Yakopov. I don’t believe for a minute that Sather is worried about his cap issue. As Babcock just proved, Buffalo will do anything to get better and everybody will be playing them this off season.

  • bradleypi

    1. trade for Eric Gryba (ott.) and Lehner for Pitts pick and next yrs 2nd, throw in a prospect if neccassary.
    2.trade for Dalton Prout (jackets)for a prospect and montreal 4th rd pick.
    3. sign 1 of Sekera, Martin or Franson.
    Now you have competition at every position, not perfect but much improved with out losing much.See what shakes loose for a goalie through the season if necassary, you dont want to get in bidding war for a goalie, and I bet Mccellan doesnt sign Nemmie.

    • 1. Gryba’s a 27-year-old third-pair defenceman and Lehner’s still a question mark (albeit an intriguing one) in net. I wouldn’t even think about moving the No. 16 pick for that duo, let alone the No. 16 pick+, even though there are things I like about both guys.

      2. I like Prout just fine, too, but he’s the same thing as Gryba; a big, physical third-pairing guy. These are useful players, but I think you need to figure out a way to clear the Oilers current crop of third-pairing types out of the way before adding more.

      3. No question that landing a primo UFA D is the way to go if it’s at all possible.

    • The problem with sending a guy like Nikitin to Bakersfield is that only $950K of his cap hit goes with him; the other $3.55 million stays in Edmonton. That’s a lot of coin for a player not even on the roster.

      Same problem with Schultz, though he’d be claimed.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    With nearly half a dozen teams in the same situation. It’s a tremendous comfort having Peter Chiarelli in charge during these opportunities.

    There’s zero chance we’ll hear Chiarelli bellow, “When you have the chance to aquire a player with Jeff Woywitkas pedigree, you do it.”

  • Petrolero

    Looking at all teams, the one who stand way above the rest in terms of how screwed up the are with the salary cap is the Chicago Blackhawks. They have about 7 million to fill up 9 roster spots or something like that.

    I’m really looking forward to the article dedicated to them.

    Brent Seabrook and maybe even Johnny Oduya will be oilers come this fall, book it.

  • passelin

    in terms of advanced analytics, I happen to run like the red shot/green shot and red goal/green goal method of evaluating a goalie. What would Talbot’s green shot save %?

  • Petrolero

    Hey Jon

    Hagelin brings absolutely nothing the Oilers need. He’s small, has 3rd line offensive and is at the peak of his career. Nothing the Oilers need.

    • Yes, he’s small, right around the same size as Anton Lander.

      He has third line offence in the same way that Benoit Pouliot had third line offence before he came to Edmonton. When a guy scores a lot of points in not a lot of minutes, sometimes you’re shocked at what happens when the minutes go up. Hagelin’s a definite candidate for that. Besides which, he would be slated for the third line so if he does end up providing only third-line offence that’s hardly a problem, particularly if he’s providing exceptional defence.

      At the peak = in his prime. Nothing wrong with that.

  • I think Hagelin would be a fine player, but not a fit for the Oilers.

    If you look at the make up of this team, there’s not a lot of right handed shots in the long term plans.

    Outside of Eberle, there’s really not that many forwards on this line up that shoot right. I’ve looked at this when considering the powerplay options.

    The future make up has:

    Rnh, Hall, McDavid, Draisaitl, Yakupov, Pouliot as your left shot forwards

    Only Eberle and Purcell are right handed. Schultz is as well on the back end. I don’t see Purcell being re-signed when his contract is up.

    Of course, some of these guys may be traded before hand, but most of the trade proposals would be to fill the back end. If they do move it for a forward, they should target right shots.

  • The oilers absolutely need a top pairing dman. And it’s not to make the playoffs, but to eat minutes so everyone else in the d corp can slide down a notch and play a role more suited to their talent and experience. Now if you want a stud like Staal or McDonagh, or Seth Jones or Brent Seabrook, or any legit #1 dman it’s going to cost the oilers one of their core players + + +. I think they should target Girardi and Talbot in a deal. Girardi is 31 years old, one of the league leaders in hits for dmen and a reliable defender. He’s not a stud but a legit top pairing guy. And he’s one of the few guys I think you can get for the 16th, Marincin and whatever other picks it takes. Next year’s 2nd or even the 1st. Talbot is simply a throw in. Keeping these top picks is a luxury the Oilers can’t afford. They’ll always be rebuilding if they stockpile picks at the expense of bringing in top-flight experienced players in their prime.

  • Armchair_Gm

    Yeah the only player on that team that i think would be realistic would be Hagelin. Hes extremely versatile and would add some much needed depth on the bottom two lines. Sorry but havinf klinkhammer and gazdic isnt going to win games for the oilers.

    I also like Miller, hes big and a good skater. He might be a casualty of the cap and I wonder if we could get him for 3rd round draft pick.

    Stop thinking any team is trading a legit top two defenseman for marincin and a pick. Marincin isnt even a good player

  • bradleypi

    Dan Boyle? The same Dan Boyle whose had concussion problems,and took a few more shots to the head these playoffs? The same Dan Boyle who looks about as tired and old as Martin St.Louis? Who wrote this article,Craig MacTavish? Guess they found a spot for you,hey Craig?

    The Oilers should look at St.Louis for a possible D Man. I’d even take J.Bo. He still logs a ton of minutes,skates like the wind,and is sound in his own end. They also have Shattenkirk and Pietriangelo, who I’d be willing to part with a guy like Eberle or Yakupov to get. There are way better options than GD Dan Boyle. Didn’t somebody write on here,that the Oilers were done making stupid moves? Please put Dan Boyle and Mike Green in a little box,lock it,and throw that b#%ch in the ocean,and never talk about it again.

  • justDOit

    I’m all for taking advantage of the Rangers’ cap troubles, but it’s doubtful that anyone takes advantage of Slats.

    That said, it’s doubly-wonderful that MacT isn’t the one left to duke it out with the wily NY boss, if it comes to that.