There are no projections yet what the cap will be for 2016-17.
But with Chris Kreider, Kevin Hayes and J.T. Miller slated to be restricted free agents, next summer also figures to be a costly one for the Rangers, especially with all three arbitration eligible.http://www.northjersey.com/sports/ho...ext-summer-1.1A likely departure next summer will be defenseman Keith Yandle, who cost Sather a first-round pick and top prospect Anthony Duclair on March 1. Yandle is working on the last season of a five-year, $26.25 million deal with a cap hit of $5.25 million. The Rangers can afford him now because only half of his cap figure counts against the Rangers, the other half is charged to his previous team, the Coyotes.
Kreider, 24, will complete a two-year, $4.95 million deal and, if he has the kind of season his potential points to, will need a significant bump from his current $2.475 million cap figure. Stepan barely avoided his arbitration hearing Monday morning in Toronto. Kreider is an early favorite to be the first Ranger to go through the process since Nikolay Zherdev.
Likewise, Hayes, entering the second season of a two-year, $7.5 million deal with the friendly cap hit of $900,000, will need a significant raise if he builds off his strong rookie season. Hayes could well become a top-six forward, either at center – though the top two spots are occupied by Stepan and Derick Brassard [entering the second season of a five-year, $25 million deal] – or on a wing.
This isn't anything we haven't touched on already, but even the beat writers are now acknowledging what we already know — the likely squeeze the Rangers are facing next summer. Maybe even worse than the one they experienced this summer.
Even with a 5% escalator assumed for next season, that pushes the cap up another $3.7M, give or take. Not a lot of room at all when you consider the figures those three specifically—Kreider, Miller and Hayes—might account for alone. The way I've got it projected, assuming all three have impressive seasons, you're looking at $5M per season for Kreider on a long-term deal, and around $3M to $3.5M a piece for Miller and Hayes on shorter-term deals. So all-in-all, let's call it around $12M for all three, who today account for just shy of $3.35M combined.
Gross made mention of the Hagelin deal, and not for nothing IMO — let's just go ahead and call that foreshadowing, because as things stand, you might be moving out another guy you don't want to as soon as next summer.
Good luck, Jeff. You're gonna need it.