Rangers have cash, just don’t know how much


The Rangers appear to have a considerable amount of cap space with which to maneuver in reconstructing for next year, but with the labor agreement set to expire on Sept. 15, it’s anybody’s guess as to exactly how much.

The Blueshirts will have approximately $20 million of space under a summer cap that’s likely to be in the neighborhood of $76M, but it’s impossible to know whether the 2012-13 cap will exceed, be equal to, or decrease from last season’s $64.3M when it’s reset under the new collective bargaining agreement.

Similarly, it is unknown whether any of the systems regulations will change as applied to calculating the cap, whether the players will ultimately accept a rollback (unlikely) if locked out (likely), and whether amnesty buyouts will be part of the picture.

With all that under consideration, the Rangers are in pretty good shape because of the significant number of young players on the roster who are earning under $2 million per year.

Still, with Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan Callahan and Dan Girardi all eligible to become unrestricted free agents after two more seasons in what likely will be a more restrictive system, there is a limit to the moves available to general manager Glen Sather this summer.

Given the uncertainty regarding the status of Michael Sauer, the top-four defenseman who did not play after suffering a concussion on Dec. 5, the Blueshirts will seek a defenseman to play the right side with Marc Staal.

But top-four defensemen do not come cheap, and if the Rangers enter the market for Nashville’s impending free agent Ryan Suter, they would have to shed at least one significant contract—if not two—to also add a scorer’s big contract; e.g., Rick Nash from Columbus in a trade, Zach Parise as a free agent (dream on).

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