Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Explaining Rangers Cap Space This Summer

There seems to be some misunderstanding of how to best figure out how much money the New York Rangers will have this summer to keep their own players and possibly sign others.   Looking at the salaries which are coming off the books this year is not the best way to determine the space the team has going forward.  The reason that does not work as a guide for next season is the team was below the cap limit this year. 

Unrestricted free agent Rangers this summer: Alex Frolov (3 mil), Steve Eminger (1.125 mil), Vinny Prospal (1.08 mil base, 1.4 mil bonuses), Ruslan Fedotenko (1mil).

Restricted free agent Rangers this summer: Ryan Callahn (2.3 mil), Brandon Dubinsky (1.85 mil), Matt Gilroy (1.75 mil), Artem Anisimov (822K), Brian Boyle (525K), Michael Sauer (500K).

If I added those totals together I would get 13.952 million dollars in money coming off the cap for the Rangers.  This way does not work because it assumes the Rangers were exactly at 59.4 million so this is not all the money the team has to work with this summer.

The other common way I see people calculate space is to add the guys they expect to be gone (Frolov, Eminger, Prospal, Fedotenko, Gilroy) up and say we have 8 million to give raises to the other five restricted guys.  The biggest problem with this approach is that it forgets the bodies associated with those contracts have to be replaced in roster players who also cost money.

The best way to look at what the team might have for next season is to use the contracts they already have committed to players next year.  The cap is assumed to be going up, but since there has been no definitive announcement on what that will be it is better to calculate against this year’s cap.

This season the cap ceiling was set at 59.4 million.  According to Capgeek the Rangers have $42,612,500 committed to 14 players for the 2011-12 season.  They currently do not count Michael Del Zotto in that because he is in the minors.  Adding him in would put the Rangers at 43,700,000 for 15 players.  This calculation would leave the Rangers with 15.7 million dollars to fill likely 7 roster spots.  From this point people can make more informed calculations on what the Rangers actually have as options in terms of resigning their own players and/or bringing in outside ones.

Obviously there are things that can change from these numbers, but for me working it in this fashion gives you almost a worst case scenario of how much money the Rangers will have this summer.  I say that because of the things that can change (Cap goes up, Drury buyout, Boogaard not playing, Christensen waived) all of them would add future space to the cap.  There is a caution in that as well, along with Wade Redden coming back on the cap this summer and his 6.5 million counting against the cap.  The rule does state that a team can exceed the cap by 10% over the summer so Redden is not a huge negative, but he does eat through all of that excess you are allowed.

Hopefully this will help you better understand what money the Rangers do and don’t have for this summer.