Good morning, boneheads!
According to CapFriendly the Rangers have 17 players under contract. That includes 9 forwards ( counting Puempel), 7 D-men ( including Klein, Deangelo, and Kampfer), and one goaltender. Assuming Klein does retire, they’ll have close to $23M to complete the roster. A couple of things to consider. One, there is a very high chance we will face another lockout after 2019-2020 season. Two, this year the maximum contract that could be stashed in the AHL has been bumped to $1.025M
First, let’s look at their own restricted Free Agents, Mika Zibanejad and Jesper Fast. Both are important players, and both will be re-signed ( you’re welcome, Coos 😃)
Zibanejad is arbitration eligible, and will probably file, but he doesn’t have a strong case because of his injury last season. He will become a UFA in 2 years. So the question is, is it better for him to take 2 year bridge and face uncertainty because of the lockout in 1 year after his contract expires, or does he sacrifice some money, and goes long term with bonuses laden contract to protect him from lockout? I think Gorton, and this organization, may benefit from that scenario. I believe long term at $4.1-4.5M should get it done. 5-6 years?
Fast is eligible for arbitration too, and even though he is a year older than Zibanejad, is going to become a UFA within the same 2 year frame. Fast is facing the same dilemma. I believe 4 year deal at around $1.6-1.95M should get this one done too.
The last one of their own is Smith. I believe they should really try and sign him for many reasons, most important being that NY seems to be a good fit. But if he wants much more than $4.5M per year ( again, bonuses laden) for 4 years, I’d walk away. After that they’ll still have around $12M to spend, and a few important positions to fill. Would that be enough?