According to the New York Post yesterday, New York Rangers GM Glen Sather has put contract negotiations on hold for goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, captain Ryan Callahan and defenseman Dan Girardi, who are all unrestricted free agents after the 2013-14 season. But before people start to panic, there are some reasons why Sather is currently cutting off the contract talks for three of the team’s top contributors, especially Lundqvist.
Rangers center Derek Stepan is a restricted free agent this season, which starts in less than two months, and Sather’s top priority right now is most likely to get Stepan under contract before the other three. Signing Stepan needs to come first not only because of his current status, but since the Rangers only have a little over $2 million in cap space to spend, Sather will have to work on some deals to free up space, like moving players such as Brian Boyle or Taylor Pyatt, in order to even give Stepan a new contract.
Staying with the cap space theme, I’ve read rumors of Sather maybe waiting to find out how much the salary cap for the NHL will be next season first. Since the cap is supposed to increase in 2014-15, maybe Sather wants to find out exactly how much cap space the Rangers will gain, starting next year, before any contract negotiations for Lundqvist, Callahan and Girardi start, so he knows just how much money he has to work with.
When will Sather find out how much the cap will increase next season? I have no idea, but I hope he has some inkling as to the extent of the salary cap increase before this October.