The New York Rangers are going to have some hard decisions to make relative to the salary cap this summer. Even after the team bought out the contract of center Brad Richards, they are still finding it hard to keep all their young talent together. Now one of their key pieces from New York’s unexpected run to the Stanley Cup Finals could be one of the sacrifices the Rangers must make to keep the rest of their team intact.
Renaud Lavoie tweets that contract talks between the Rangers and defenseman Anton Stralman have not gone as expected.
Talks between Rangers and Anton Stralman are not going as expected. We’ll see if it’s gona change in the next few days. #tvasports
— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) June 25, 2014
Stralman has seen his stock rise considerably after displaying some great play in the 2014 playoffs. He is also one of the top possession blue liners in the league. In fact, Stralman ranks 11th among regular NHL defensemen in On-Ice Corsi. His agent has no doubt been keeping track of such advancements and now it appears Stralman’s camp is putting the screws to New York management given the leverage solid defenseman will have in the UFA market this July.
The Rangers have nearly $24 million in cap space, but they only have six forwards and four defenseman under NHL contract right now. The team’s free agents other than Stralman include UFAs Brian Boyle, Dominic Moore and Dan Carcillo along with RFAs Derick Brassard, Chris Kreider, Mats Zuccarello, and Justin Falk.
If the Rangers want to keep Stralman and most of these other players, the team will need to get real creative in a hurry. Otherwise, expect Stralman to challenge Matt Niskanen as the top blue line find in the open market.