There are just about nine days remaining before free agency opens up on July 5th, and the New York Rangers are starting to get a head start on some of their upcoming restricted/unrestricted free agents. According to Katie Strang of ESPN New York, Glen Sather is expected to sit down with Henrik Lundqvist's agent prior to the draft and discuss a long-term extension for the franchise goaltender. Although Lundqvist is not eligible to sign an extension until July, both sides can still agree on the terms of a new deal.
Also according to Strang, preliminary discussions have begun for RFA's Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan, and Carl Hagelin. Those talks, however, have yet to progress passed the preliminary stages as each of their agents have confirmed. Mats Zuccarello is also a restricted free agent, but according to his representation, the Rangers are expected to bring him back on a multi-year contract. A contract is expected to be announced sooner rather than later.
Finally, we move onto Ryane Clowe, who is also in the process of beginning contract talks of his own with the Rangers. According to Pat Leonard of the NY Daily News, Clowe has been medically cleared by doctors following his latest concussion that occurred during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, against the Washington Capitals. The Rangers were waiting for the official clearance in order begin contract talks, and dialog between Clowe's camp and the Rangers are expected to start up in the coming days.
With the Rangers having a lot of their plate this summer, and the salary cap shrinking down to just $64 million, the Rangers will likely try to seek a discount on Clowe's $3.625 million cap him from this prior season. On the Rangers official breakup day, Clowe admitted that he would consider taking a pay cut to remain in New York.
Things are going to get interesting over the next several days, as team's start gearing up for the compliance buyout period, and the upcoming NHL Draft. We will update any news as we hear it.