Well, the New York Rangers got their man. Earlier this week, top free agent prospect Kevin Hayes finally made his decision about which team’s sweater he’ll don. This team was none other than my favorite, the Rangers. While the highly-touted Hayes is a great signing for the team, GM Glen Sather cannot celebrate too much as he still has at least one more thing to do. Currently the Rangers have one more restricted free agent to sign and that is defenseman John Moore.
The reason why Moore will be the last one to receive a contract from the Rangers is simple. Out of all of the restricted free agents the Rangers had this summer, Moore was the only one who did not have arbitration rights, meaning Moore has absolutely no leverage on what his new contract will be. Moore can hold out of training camp, like Derek Stepan did just last season, but with no arbitration rights he cannot threaten Sather with possibly leaving the team unless Sather actually wants to move him.
Before the Rangers signed Hayes, they had about $1.3 million to spend towards the salary cap. With Hayes’ contract being worth $925K, the Rangers now have less than $400K to spend. So how is it possible for the Rangers to resign Moore with only that little left to spend unless they trade someone?
Well, not so fast.
The reason why it seems like the Rangers have little to no spending money left is because a lot of the team’s depth signings this offseason are currently counting towards the salary cap. But once a good majority of those players get sent down to the AHL, the Rangers will have about $1-1.5 million left to spend. And with Moore projected to receive a contract of somewhere in the $1 million range, then even with the Rangers signing Hayes they will not need to trade anyone in order to resign Moore.