Rangers Kid Line Could Be A Salary Cap Casualty
Larry Brooks of the New York Post: Brooks writes the New York Rangers had a disappointing ending to their season losing in Game 7 of their first-round series to the New Jersey Devils. What was most disappointing was the team absolutely no-showed in multiple games in that series including Game 7.
The Rangers are up against the salary cap as the roster needs restructuring but it will not be easy. They have several unmovable contracts with Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, and Jacob Trouba. Not to mention, general manager Chris Drury just signed Vincent Trocheck, who also has a no-trade clause in free agency and extended Filip Chytil.
While the “Kids” gained valuable experience last year in the playoffs and were probably the most valuable line the Rangers had, they might have outgrown their need. K’Andre Miller, Kaapo Kakko, Alexis Lafreniere, and Chytil were all letdowns. But when were reunited gave the Rangers life and energy.
Drury will have some tough decisions to make that may be unpopular Brooks writes. Could Miller and Lafreniere be the ones to go? Both are restricted free agents, but Miller would be tough to swallow as he is part of the Rangers top-six defence corps. Lafreniere may need a change of scenery or finally given a role his skill is best suited for.
As Kakko has stated he wants increased ice time as well. Thus these players have outgrown their role on the third line.
The Avalanche Need To Find A Second Line Center
Peter Baugh of Athletic: There was so much uncertainty surrounding the health of Gabriel Landeskog, who was injured in the 2020 Edmonton Bubble and did not play a single shift this year. J.T. Compher filled the role of the 2C as best he could.
Compher had a career-high 52 points this season with the Avalanche considering he is known for being a defensive center. The Avalanche had options to get a second-line center at the NHL Trade Deadline but did not.
With Compher going to market as an unrestricted free agent this year in a weaker market, the Avalanche may not be able to afford him as Baugh notes especially, if they do not view him as a second-line center. Thus they will have to fill the need in the free agent market.
Again, a lot of what the Avalanche can do in free agency depends on the health of Landeskog and whether they can use his $7 million cap hit to their advantage.
If not they will be in the same situation they were this year.