Rangers face critical free agent decisions with little room to spend

Brian Boyle
Brian Boyle, right, may not be back if he is looking for more playing time.
Credit: Reuters

Rangers general manager Glen Sather delivered an unmistakeable challenge to his pending free agents Saturday.

“[If] you move on, it doesn’t always work,” Sather told reporters. “You have to decide what’s the important thing: Winning or making a few more dollars someplace else. My book, it’s always winning.”

The Rangers’ run to the Stanley Cup Final may lead to a free agency period in which useful components Brian Boyle, Dominic Moore, Benoit Pouliot and Anton Stralman are offered deals by rival franchises the reigning Eastern Conference champions cannot match. Free agency begins on July 1.

The Rangers have $23.307 million in available salary cap space after using their final compliance buyout on Brad Richards and trading Derek Dorsett and his $1.633 million cap hit to Vancouver Friday.

Much of the available cap space will be earmarked for restricted free agents Derick Brassard, Chris Kreider, Mats Zuccarello and John Moore, all of whose representatives Sather said he has contacted.

Using a combined $14 million in salaries for the four restricted free agents as a baseline, Sather would have roughly $9 million to try to re-sign his unrestricted free agents and scour the marketplace for additional player personnel.

Brian Boyle told reporters on breakup day he wished for a greater role other than fourth-line center/wing, although that is where head coach Alain Vigneault sees him as being most effective. That might spell the end of the relationship between the two sides.

Also, the contracts signed by the Flyers’ Andrew MacDonald (six years, $30 million) and the Oilers’ Nikita Nitkinin (two years, $8 million) have set the pay scale for top-four defensemen, such as Stralman. It’s unlikely the Rangers could shell out that much for one player.

It is not feasible to think the Rangers will be major players for Paul Stastny, Mikhail Grabovski or Mason Raymond, despite having thrived for Vigneault in Vancouver, either.

Instead, it seems much more reasonable organizational prospects Oscar Lindberg, Jesper Fast, J.T. Miller, Danny Kristo, Connor Allen and Dylan McIlrath will have the opportunity to earn jobs in training camp and preseason.

“We traded [Dorsett] to give us some relief,” Sather said. “We had a real good idea [the cap ceiling] wasn’t going to be $70 million.”

Prior to the start of the draft Friday, the NHL and NHLPA announced in a joint statement the cap figures for the upcoming season. The floor is $51 million, the midpoint is $60 million and the ceiling is $69 million. The Rangers currently have about $45.6 million committed to next season.

“Realistically, I think some of the guys have to pull their horns in a bit,” Sather said. “We liked everybody. [We'd] like to keep everyone together.”

Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.


Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…


Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…


Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.


Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…


'Full House' might be relaunched with some of…

A new "Full House" might be in the works.


Review: 'The Congress' is a crazy, unwieldy sci-fi…

Robin Wright is the center of gravity in "The Congress," which turns from a live-action Hollywood satire into an animated spectacular on a downer future.


Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.


Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.


Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.


When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.


Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…


Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…


The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…


Labor Day essentials

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beach or barbecuing in the park here are some must-haves for your end-of-summer bash.