It’s difficult to predict what changes will occur that will affect the Rangers directly in the new CBA, but, it’s easy to imagine that no changes will be positive news as far as the franchise or its fans are concerned. Last season, as well as this current season, the team has hidden the horrendous 6.5 million cap hit of unfortunate free agent signee Wade Redden in Connecticut of the AHL. Beyond this season, Redden still has two more years left to go on the 6 year 39 million dollar deal he signed on July 1, 2008. It has been rumored that in the new CBA, the owners will try to eliminate cap circumventing loopholes like this that allow the Rangers to rid themselves of one of Glen Sather’s greatest mistakes. The Rangers would be in a heap of trouble next season if the cap hit of 64 million was in fact lowered and they were actually forced to keep Redden, or at the very least, buy him out.
The Rangers have some players on the current roster whose contracts are ending after this season who will then become Unrestricted Free Agents. Set to become UFA’s next summer are forwards Sean Avery, Wojtek Wolski, Ruslan Fedotenko, Erik Christensen, Brandon Prust and Andre Deveaux, defensemen Steve Eminger and Jeff Woywitka and backup goaltender Martin Biron. Considering the lack of goaltending depth in the Rangers system at this point, Biron would seem to be the priority to be re-signed amongst this group. Currently signed to a cap hit of 875K, the Rangers would be well advised to try and sign him to an extension beyond this season as soon as possible. The other priority in the group would be forward and fan favorite Brandon Prust. He is a tireless worker and as tough as nails, signing Prust to something like the 3 year given to Brian Boyle this past summer, a deal between 1.5 million and 2 million a year would be a great move by Sather and the sooner the better. Other than Biron and Prust, I don’t see a lot of names in that list of potential UFA’s that are must haves to come back, and this includes Mr. Sean Avery. The Rangers have some young forwards such as Carl Hagelin and Ryan Bourque playing for the AHL Connecticut Whale now desperate for an opportunity to take the next step, junior sensation Christian Thomas as well as college star Chris Kreider who will hopefully leave Boston College and challenge for a role on one of the top Rangers lines next season. On the blue line, Tim Erixon figures to be a fixture back there for years to come, although he comes with a 1.75 million cap hit himself. The numbers really begin to add up from that 47 million don’t they?
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