The NHL's salary cap for the coming season sits at $69 million, and with free agency beginning today at 1 p.m., the Rangers look to keep as many members of the Eastern Conference champions as possible.
Here are a few priorities for the Blueshirts to make sure they are as competitive as they were on their path to the Stanley Cup Final.
Re-signing established pieces
With Brian Boyle and Anton Stralman expected to seek big bucks elsewhere, the Rangers may have to let them go to save room for restricted free agents Mats Zuccarello and Chris Kreider. Zuccarello led the team with 59 points during the regular season, creating opportunities with his quickness on the boards. Kreider's youth and speed are also valuable assets, helping him notch five goals and 13 points in 15 playoff games. Derick Brassard is another player the Rangers do not want to lose, especially with the team already buying out Brad Richards, a move that cleared $6.67 million in cap space but, in turn, leaves them thin at the center position.
Pursuing a fresh face
Although the Rangers already have more than $45 million dollars tied up in 11 players, the team may have to spend some money to replace Richards and Boyle, assuming he chooses to leave. The best free agent center on the market is Paul Stastny of the Avalanche. Half the league reportedly has interest in Stastny, who has scored 20 goals or more in six seasons, including the Blueshirts. The Canadian's current salary is $6.6 million and he is not willing to take a pay cut, which means signing him would be investing the money saved from the Richards buyout.