The New York Rangers perked up a few eyebrows on Sunday when they re-signed restricted free agent forward Derick Brassard to a five-year, $25 million deal.
While he was a great contributor to the Rangers’ Stanley Cup Final run last season on the third line, some have wondered if he’s worth that kind of pay out. That debate is there to be had, but the effect it has on the Rangers’ salary cap is what may have fans stressing out all season.
The Rangers have one more restricted free agent left to re-sign — defenseman John Moore. Larry Brooks of the New York Post said if he comes in at around $1 million, the Rangers could be looking at around $1.3 million in cap space. That would happen if Chris Mueller and Matt Hunwick start the season in the AHL. As it is right now, according to CapGeek.com, they have $1.33 million in cap space to get Moore signed.
Walking that kind of salary tightrope means GM Glen Sather will have to be shrewd with call-ups. It also puts some of the other signings this summer under the microscope. Tanner Glass’ three-year, $4.35 million deal with a $1.45 million cap hit stands out especially since he’s likely going to play the fourth line or not at all.
If there’s a bright side here it’s that the players battling for the final spots on the roster all come in with similar cap numbers.
Jesper Fast ($805K), J.T. Miller ($894,167), and Mueller ($600K) will battle up front while Mike Kostka ($650K) and Hunwick ($600K) will fight for the seventh defenseman job. That means coach Alain Vigneault can pick and choose out of this bunch without stressing too much about what it’ll do to the cap. Still, the Rangers are pushing the limit and not having that flexibility can cause problems if/when injuries arise.