And then there was one.
The New York Rangers have only one RFA left unsigned: non-arbitration eligible defenseman John Moore. Since he was not eligible for arbitration, the negotiations of Derick Brassard, Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello obviously became a priority for Glen Sather. With those three locked up there's not much more for Sather to focus on outside of Moore.
Let's take a quick recap of where the Rangers are with the salary cap. After inking Brassard to a five-year, $25-million deal, the Rangers have roughly $1.3-million left under the cap. That figure is a little misleading, though, since it includes the salaries of guys like Matt Hunwick, Chris Mueller and Michael Kostka. One of Kostka or Hunwick will most likely be the team's seventh defenseman, so their salary will stick around, but assume the one who doesn't will get sent down along with Mueller.
Backing out those salaries leaves the Rangers with roughly $2.4-million in salary cap space. More than enough to bring Moore in -- who is expected to agree to terms just north of a million dollars. Even if the Rangers go to $1.3-million for Moore, Sather would have $1.1-million to spend elsewhere if he needed or wanted to.
The one name that keeps floating around is Ryan Carter, who made less than $1-million the last two years with the Devils. Carter would be a fantastic pickup, and would certainly fill the void left by the loss of Brian Boyle. He would solidify the Rangers bottom six and give the team more options throughout the year in case of injury or players playing themselves out of the lineup or out of a specific role. You never really can have too much depth after all.
The one issue with the Rangers making any moves outside of Moore is the space the team will have to work with over the season. The Rangers can sign Moore and Carter (again, this is pure speculation) with the money they have to work with, but will the team feel comfortable churning along with $300K worth of salary cap space? That makes some general mangers (justifiably) nervous. They always love to have some wiggle room.
The other questions will be answered after the Rangers bring Moore back into the fold, but they're worth thinking about now. Especially since we're officially nearing the end of the dog days of summer.