New York Rangers Season Preview: The Buyout Conundrum

Rick Stewart

The New York Rangers have two buyouts to use over the next year and a half. Who will they use them on?

One of the more quiet fights the two sides had during the CBA negotiations was that of an amnesty buyout. Basically an amnesty buyout is a tool given to all NHL teams to help allow them to get under the modified (and reduced) cap. The surprise in all of this was the NHL agreeing to two buyouts, both of which need to be used before the end of the 2013-2014 season.

So who will the New York Rangers use these on? Well, one answer is easy, the second is a little harder.

We'll start with the easy answer: Wade Redden. There is no chance the Rangers allow Redden to play in the AHL so long as his cap hit is sticking with the big club. That was a loophole the Rangers utilized in the last CBA. In the new CBA that doesn't fly.

So -- presumably -- the Rangers would use the first of their two buyouts on Redden, which would save the team $6.5-million this year and next year (the final two years on his contract). Redden does, however, deserve a lot of credit for the work he's done in the AHL for the Connecticut Whale. Trust me, I've been in that locker room and everyone has great things to say about him.

Also remember, teams are not permitted to use the buyouts on injured players who are on LIR. So Michael Sauer (who I saw some of you mentioning) isn't an option. Not that I would have used it on him anyway.

Moving on, there are other options the Rangers might look into. Here are a few of them:

Brad Richards - No, this has nothing to do with his play. In fact, I thought Richards was good in the regular season and brilliant in the playoffs last year. This is more about his actual contract. The new CBA obviously abolished font-loaded contracts like the one Richards currently has. Some fans think the Rangers might use the buyout on Richards because his cap is too high, but that's not the issue to look at here.

Remember, the cap is linked with the revenue. So as long as the NHL is growing, the cap is going to go up. The only reason why the Rangers would buyout Richards is because they couldn't afford him in year three (when the cap is fully lowered). And since they can afford him, there's no need to buy him out. I can't wait to see what he does this year, especially since his play was a main reason why the Rangers were so successful last year. So cross Richards off this list.

Mike Rupp - Again, this has nothing to do with Rupp's play, especially since Rupp filled the roll we all expected him to last year. This has more to do with the way John Tortorella utilized players like Rupp (spoiler: sparingly) and his cap hit. Rupp is slated to make $1.5-million the next two seasons. Is that too much? Maybe.

Here's another spolier about these buyouts: The Rangers only have one really bad contract on their hands, and it's Redden's. Aside from that? The next buyout is going to be used (if it's used) on a player who probably isn't making that much money. So Rupp might see himself bought out here. Then again, he might not.

Arron Asham - Asham is in the same boat as Rupp. The difference? Asham was just signed this year. That can work in one of two ways. If the Rangers do intend to use their buyout on a player like Rupp or Asham they might not use it on Asham because they just signed him this summer or they might not use it on Rupp because he's already familiar with the system and the team. This one can go either way.

No One - There is a chance the Rangers don't use their second buyout at all. Like I mentioned above, there aren't too many candidates outside of Redden that merit a buyout. The Rangers might save it, however, just in case they make a big trade or try to pull some salary from another team (doubtful). But it wouldn't shock me if they didn't use it at all.

Marian Gaborik - Not happening. This rumor started with Arthur Staple from Newsday (I believe), and it makes no sense at all. Why would the Rangers buyout Gaborik? The alleviation of the cap hit wouldn't even come at the right time (when the Rangers will need the dollars he will be a free agent anyway). So don't expect this to happen. I would give it a 0% chance.

So there are some likely (or unlikely) candidates. What do you guys think? Did I leave anyone off the list?

The floor is yours.

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