clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Will the New York Rangers qualify Alexandar Georgiev?

Can they?

New York Rangers v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

Restricted Free Agents are due their Qualifying Offers on July 12, the day before free agency. It used to be common practice in the NHL for all RFAs to get qualified unless they were older confirmed AHLers that the team didn’t have a spot for. If a player isn’t qualified, they become a free agent at noon on free agent day, so it’s cutting the RFA loose and losing all signing rights to them. The only exception to this is if the team has elected arbitration in the first window, which closes today.

In recent seasons, because the salary cap failed to rise as expected, teams have made tough decisions on borderline NHL RFAs, particularly those whose QOs put them above what the team wanted to spend on the role the player filled. A new speculative game in the summer grew out of this reality: guessing which viable NHLers won’t get qualified.

Elliotte Friedman has said on at least three occasions I’ve heard on the radio or podcasts that he wonders if the New York Rangers will qualify goalie Alexandar Georgiev. Or even if they can. The thinking here is that the Rangers have a bona fide star goalie, one who could be called the best in the world right now, and they don’t need to be spending $2.65 million (Georgiev’s QO) on a backup. From that point of view, he seems ripe to be traded, not go unqualified, and I expect he will be traded before July 12 and a new team can negotiate a deal with him.

However, it’s an interesting question to ask if the the Rangers can actually fit his QO in and still sign players on July 13 that they want to keep. The reason it’s even an issue is that the Rangers have been willing to trade Georgiev for years, but their ask is reportedly still very high, and no one wants to pay it. If the Rangers get too clever and overplay this hand, teams might just decide to wait them out and go for him with no trade price. So far, the Rangers have asked for a high pick, an NHL-rostered player and a prospect, which is way above the value of an unproven goalie.

It’s not an absolute mystery if the Rangers can qualify him. We can calculate the Rangers’ offseason cap space and see what it looks like instead of guessing about it. We’ve done this before for the Leafs, and discovered that they have a lot of offseason space, and virtually no in-season space next October if they sign all their RFAs. It’s not that difficult to do it for the Rangers.

The offseason cap calculation actually takes effect on July 13, and runs to the day before the season begins in October. There is a 10% cushion that allows teams to go over the salary cap temporarily as they sign players. But in a system that works against young rebuilding teams, the cap hits of players on two-way contracts count in an amount prorated by their days in the NHL the prior year. The Rangers have a lot of those who played part or full seasons. They also have a lot of RFAs, to qualify and some key players on expiring UFA deals they’ll want to keep. Their cap is tight.

New York Rangers Offseason Cap Calculation

Name Cap Hit (or Qualifying Offer) Days in NHL If 2-way Prorated Cap Hit Projected Roster
Name Cap Hit (or Qualifying Offer) Days in NHL If 2-way Prorated Cap Hit Projected Roster
One-Way Contracts
Panarin 11,642,857 11,642,857 11,642,857
Zibanejad 8,500,000 8,500,000 8,500,000
Kreider 6,500,000 6,500,000 6,500,000
Goodrow 3,641,667 3,641,667 3,641,667
Chytil 2,300,000 2,300,000 2,300,000
Reaves 1,750,000 1,750,000 1,750,000
Gauthier 800,000 800,000 800,000
Fox 9,500,000 9,500,000 9,500,000
Trouba 8,000,000 8,000,000 8,000,000
Lindgren 3,000,000 3,000,000 3,000,000
Nemeth 2,500,000 2,500,000 2,500,000
Shesterkin 5,666,667 5,666,667 5,666,667
Blais 1,525,000 1,525,000 1,525,000
Kravstov 875,000 875,000 875,000
Rydahl 750,000 750,000
Tinordi 900,000 900,000
Two-Way Contracts
Lafreniere 925,000 200 925,000 925,000
Miller 925,000 200 925,000 925,000
Schneider 925,000 109 504,125 925,000
Hunt 762,500 200 762,500 762,500
Khodorenko 925,000 0 0
Trivigno 925,000 0 0
Othmann 894,167 0 0
Pajuniemi 883,750 1 4,419
Henriksson 870,000 0 0
Korczak 859,167 0 0
Edstrom 846,667 0 0
Cuylle 828,333 0 0
Rempe 820,000 0 0
Brodzinski 762,500 74 282,125
Jones 925,000 32 148,000
Lundkvist 925,000 96 444,000
Scanlin 925,000 0 0
Skinner 850,833 0 0
Robertson 797,500 0 0
Lindbom 855,000 0 0
Garand 828,333 0 0
Qulifying Offers
Kakko 874,125 one way 874,125 874,125
Georgiev 2,650,000 one way 2,650,000 2,650,000
Elmer 787,500 0 0
Gettinger 750,000 27 101,250
Richards 874,125 0 0
Ronning 787,500 0 0
Rueschhoff 813,750 0 0
Hajek 917,831 187 858,172 917,831
Wall 874,125 0 0
Contracts: 44 20
Dead Cap 3,427,778 3,427,778 3,427,778
Total: 98,866,719 79,757,685 77,608,445
Salary Cap 82,500,000 82,500,000
10% overage 8,250,000
Total: 90,750,000 82,500,000
Cap Space 10,992,315 4,891,555

What this calculation shows is that if they qualify every RFA on July 12, they will have almost $11 million in cap space in the offseason to make deals. Most of that is the bonus cushion, however, and that sounds like a lot until you sign a couple of hefty UFAs and Kaapo Kakko and it’s vanished in a puff of smoke. They have Andrew Copp, Tyler Motte, Ryan Strome, Frank Vatrano and several other lower-level UFAs.

I don’t know the Rangers well enough to guess at their roster for next season, but putting in the obvious choices of players who were fulltime this season, I get a very tiny $4.8 million in space on a 20-man roster with at least Kakko due a raise within that number. That’s Leafs-level tight, and maybe even worse. Even if you imagine a trade now for Georgiev that gives them a $750,000 backup or even a million-dollar good pro like Tampa usually has, they have tough decisions to make. That’s their problem and means to us only that Vatrano might be available, which is a good thing for teams looking for forwards of a certain type that cost less than $4 million.

So, the Rangers absolutely can qualify Georgiev. And they absolutely should consider themselves so sharp they’ve cut themselves if they haven’t traded him by noon on July 13. They need that space, and they should just drop the ask down enough to get it ahead of time. I fully expect that to get done.

This feels like a game of chicken, one where teams that want a sub $3 million goalie might break first and up their offers. Georgiev is arbitration eligible, and he’s not likely to get over his QO in arbitration. Speculating they won’t qualify him misses the mark on this one. Now, Kasperi Kapanen on the other hand...

This post is powered by CapFriendly.