Rangers Were Already In Salary Cap Hole

Jacob Trouba (NHL Media)

I just don’t get how folks think that Jacob Trouba’s new contract put the New York Rangers in a salary cap hole. It wasn’t that contract that put the team behind the eight ball with the salary cap, it was the contract the team gave Artemi Panarin that did it.

Giving Panarin a contract that has an $ 11.6 million salary cap when the team knew that the salary cap was not going to rise as much as NHL teams hoped it would. Imagine what that $11.6 million would pay for when it comes to the salary cap situation.

I know Panarin is a very talented player but this is why this franchise shortcircuits any rebuild, they lack the patience to see it through. If Panarin wasn’t a free agent this year then the team would have spent the money on anyone else with a name.

That is what the Rangers do, look for the easy way out and try buying their way out of messes they put themselves in. It is not about disliking players but the one lesson the Rangers for over 30 years have refused to learn is:

“It is not how much money you spend, it is about how well you spend your money”

The Rangers knew when they traded for Jacob Trouba that he was due a new contract and most knew that he was going to wind up with exactly what he got. Now the Rangers have to move contracts in order to free up salary cap space.

Forget the buyouts of Kevin Shattenkirk and/or Brendan Smith as the savings will not do much in relief. The team will save $2.9 million with buying out Shattenkirk and $2.3 million for a buyout of Smith. Smith only saves them  $1.25 million with an exile to Hartford.

And if you want an idea as to what kind of return the Rangers might see by moving players like Chris Kreider or Vlad Namesnikov then go back to the same deal that netted the Rangers Jacob Trouba. The Winnipeg Jets had really no bargaining chips because they too were up against the salary cap limit needing to sign restricted free agents.

Neither player has more than a year on his contract so why would anyone think another NHL team will help out the Rangers? The Rangers didn’t give the Jets anything more than Neal Pionk when you get right to it.  It might cost the Rangers more than just Kreider or Namesnikov if they hope to get some kind of salary cap relief.

The Rangers might be forced to toss in a decent prospect to avoid having to take back another contract in any trade.  Do not be surprised if you wake up one morning and the Rangers trade a Filip Chytil, Lias Andersson, or Libor Hajek.

Those are the kids that will get attention from other teams, not Ryan Gropp or Dawson Leedahl.

One day the Rangers will get smart and learn to manage their salary cap situation better than they have. Sometimes it is better not to spend all of your cap space and save something for a rainy day.

Trouba’s Contract

I admit I am no fan of contracts that have “no movement clauses” for they hurt the teams that give them out.  To this day I wonder what would happen if the Rangers were able to trade Henrik Lundqvist in 2018.  No other Ranger would have brought the Rangers a bigger return when they started selling off players.

But I can live with five years of NMC and two years of a limited no-trade clause for Jacob Trouba. Trouba will be 30 when those NTC’s kick in. By then the Rangers should have turned over their blueline corp to those drafted in the last couple of years.

I also am a fan of this contract because even if the Rangers move some salary they are going to be very limited in offering multi-year contracts which will force open doors for the prospects.  I can see as many as eight prospects having a legit shot at making the team as regulars simply because they will all carry a salary cap number that is under one million.

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