It is kind of ironic that back in 2004 that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman locked out the NHL players for an entire season because of what he called the “out of control player salaries”. The NHL lost an entire year including the Stanley Cup playoffs in order to force the players to accept a salary cap.
The irony is that after the Rangers signed restricted free agent Pavel Buchnevich on Friday that their projected salary cap hit was 85,656,466. That put the Rangers $4, 156,466 over the current limit of $81.5 million.
Oh sure just buy out Kevin Shattenkirk to save $5,166,667, exile Brendan Smith and Matt Beleskey to Hartford and maybe trade Chris Kreider or Ryan Strome or Vlad Namestinkov (who the NYR have tried trading but nobody has wanted ). Those moves are designed to get the team under the cap but what happens if the Rangers need to add someone because the kids were not ready?
Still, I for one am frustrated more about the Rangers being in a position of having to buy out players, make salary dump trades or exiles to the AHL in order to get under the cap limit. Buying out Kevin Shattenkirk is a no-brainer because he never lived up to his contract is what many a fan is saying.
Maybe had the Rangers stopped buying the annual “flavor of the UFA year” they would not be in this mess. How many UFAs have the Rangers signed over the years only to see they fail to produce? The list is long and the names will make Ranger fans want to cry as you have a virtual who’s who of hockey.
Chris Drury, Brad Richards, Mark Messier, Bruce Driver, Greg De Vries, Stephane Quintal, Donald Brashear, Matt Cullen, Wade Redden, Sylvain Lefebvre, Brian Skrudland, Mike Keane, Aaron Ward, Theo Fleury, Scotty Gomez, and my personal worst Bobby Holik. And this is a list just off the top of my head as I am sure I missed a few.
Yet come every July 1st there are Ranger fans lined up and shouting for the Rangers to sign the year’s top named free agents. Every year we keep hearing how this time will be different and that this player will break the streak of players who failed to live up to their contracts.
I would love to ask the commissioner what he thinks about the Rangers (as well as the Maple Leafs, Capitals, and Penguins) being over the salary cap. Pretty sure he will rail on about the Rangers as the reason why he might need to lock out the players when the CBA expires.
This time he might just be right.