During a press conference last week, Gary Bettman announced that the salary cap ceiling may rise as much as $2 million heading into the 2010-2011 season. Considering the current state of the economy, which is not getting better, this is a significant jump. Many cash strapped teams, including the Rangers, can benefit from this $2 million increase.
For the Rangers, the cap money is a big blessing. The Rangers currently have 15 players under contract for next year, and $10 million in cap space. With a few key restricted free agents to sign, the Rangers may not have had enough room to keep everyone they wanted in the organization for next season. The extra $2 million really gives them the cap leeway to get everyone in the team's future plans under contract.
When news of this broke, many fans had another use for this extra cap space. In short, that extra cap space can be used as what I am going to dub the "Wade Redden buyout space". Recently, I analyzed the cap hits for buying out Redden, and the amount is a little under a $2 million cap hit for the first two seasons. The logic here is that buying out Redden frees up $4.5 million in cap space, and that $2 million buyout cap hit is essentially covered by the increase in the salary cap. This logic is sound, but it is still incredibly unlikely that the Rangers buy out Redden, or send him to the AHL. Regardless of the fate of Redden, this $2 million really gives the Rangers some much needed breathing room.