With the talk about the Rangers possibly being part of Ottawa and Tampa Bay's Erik Karlsson deal, or any deal to relieve a team in a cap crunch, Larry Brooks tweets that the Rangers need to make sure that any possible deal doesn't hurt their chances at free agency next summer.
Rick Carpiniello write in The Athletic that the Rangers are not interested in taking on Bobby Ryan's four-years and $7.25 million cap hit because they don't want that kind of contract to prevent them from being a player in free agency next summer.
Carpiniello adds that the Rangers don't believe they will still be rebuilding in 3-4 seasons. (The Athletic)
Following this season, Mats Zuccarello will be a UFA, Pavel Buchnevich, Neal Pionk and Anthony DeAngelo will be RFAs and, if the cap stays flat, the Rangers would have around $30 million in cap space.
Other players outside of Panarin that could become unrestricted free agents next summer include Erik Karlsson, Jordan Eberle, Matt Duchene, Tyler Seguin, Jeff Skinner, Blake Wheeler, Max Pacioretty, Tyler Myers and Wayne Simmonds. (Cap Friendly)
Panarin, 27 in October, is on a two-year deal that has a cap hit of $6 million and has averaged .96 points per game in his career.
Adam Rotter: The Rangers will have cap space next summer if they want to go after a big fish like Panarin, Seguin, or Karlsson, if he doesn't sign an extension, but moves they make this summer will go a long way in determining how much. Ryan Callahan at $5.8 million for two-seasons is probably about as far as they would want to go, for non-rentals, in taking on a contract to provide cap relief. Kevin Hayes, or the player(s) he is potentially moved for, would eat up some cap space as would Brady Skjei's new deal and likely Jimmy Vesey's. Ultimately, for the Rangers to still remain somewhat flexible next summer, even after signing someone that likely has their cap charge start with at least a 9, they would need to move on from a guy like Namestnikov or Brendan Smith. This is all a long way away, but the Rangers are looking towards the future, being flexible and being able to add a player that could be a difference maker.