While a buyout of one of the New York Rangers defensemen seems like a popular option to fix the fact that the team is currently projected to be over the salary cap after New York paid out $19.65MM AAV for both Artemi Panarin and Jacob Trouba, there are still other options that might make even more sense.
With plenty of rumors that New York could choose to buyout Kevin Shattenkirk, Brendan Smith or Marc Staal when their buyout window opens on Monday, The Athletic’s Rick Carpiniello (subscription required) writes that the team might be better off saving their future cap room from carrying extra dead weight. One way to do that is move forward Vladislav Namestnikov, who carries a $4MM cap hit this year before becoming a unrestricted free agent. While teams might have shown little interest in the 26-year-old who scored just 11 goals last season, one better option would be to retain some of his salary, which could easily make him a more attractive trade option and wouldn’t cost the team future cap costs. Namestnikov is only one year removed from a 22-goal, 48-point season.
- Sticking with the Rangers, the team announced the passing of former great Arnie Brown Saturday. The defenseman died at the age of 77, but played a total of 12 seasons for five different teams, but made his mark with New York after playing seven seasons (from 1964-1971) for the franchise and is listed among the top 100 players in Rangers history. Brown played 681 games over the course of his career, posting 44 goals and 185 points. Everyone at PHR wishes the best for the family and friends of Brown at this time.
- The Columbus Dispatch’s Michael Arace writes that little progress has been made between the Columbus Blue Jackets and restricted free agent Zach Werenski. While the team hopes that it can lock up the 22-year-old to a long-term deal, there is always the possibility that Werenski could be a training camp holdout if the two sides can’t find an equitable arrangement. Blue Jackets fans have already seen that as several players, including Josh Anderson and Ryan Johansen have done that in past seasons. Werenski has proven to be a top pairing defenseman, having tallied 38 goals and 128 points over the course of three seasons. With key losses this offseason of Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky and Matt Duchene, the team could benefit if they can convince Werenski to sign long-term.
- After signing defenseman Christian Djoos and forward Chandler Stephenson to one-year deals last week, the Washington Capitals once again find themselves over the salary cap by $1.3MM. While one option to reduce their cap hit would be to send Jonas Siegenthaler to the AHL like the team did last year, NBC Sports Washington’s J.J. Regan writes that won’t be possible. While Siegenthaler is still waiver exempt, the team only has seven NHL defensemen under contract and even if they felt that Tyler Lewington could be the team’s seventh defenseman, he wouldn’t save the team a significant amount of money to make the move worth it. Unfortunately for general manager Brian MacLellan, the team will have to make a different move this year to get under the cap.
- The Athletic’s Scott Burnside (subscription required) looks at candidates who could bounce back from disappointing seasons and marks Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin as a player who should return to his 90-point ways. The 32-year-old went from a 42-goal season in 2017-18 to half that total last year (21 goals) and went from 98 points to 72. Burnside writes that the team will need more goal scoring after losing Phil Kessel and Malkin will be looked to even more to fill that gap.