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Is Jeff Gorton Going To Create Cap Space Via Trade?

Can Gorton remove some of the bad contracts on this team to create the needed cap flexibility the Rangers would need?

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We've reached the end of the preseason and the two kids who represented the team's biggest question marks -- Oscar Lindberg and Dylan McIlrath -- have firmly secured their spot with the team.

The question about starting sits firmly with McIlrath more than Lindberg, but both players have potentially usurped incumbents in some capacity. For Lindberg he's going to replace Tanner Glass while McIlrath tired to prove that he replaced Kevin Klein.

The way things stand right now, the Rangers are going to be right up against the salary cap even after removing Jayson Megna, Glass and Raphael Diaz. (I'm just making an assumption with Diaz here. I think he's earned a spot but that remains to be seen.) General managers don't like to go into the season without the flexibility to make a move if needed, and if my math is correct the Rangers would have just over $400K in cap space after the above moves. Nowhere near enough flexibility to make them feel comfortable.

There's a few solutions to this problem. The first solution is finding a suitor for Glass rather than burying him in the minors. Keep in mind, the new CBA negated a team's ability to throw a player into the minors and lose the cap hit (while continuing to have to pay his salary, of course). Now teams only get $950K worth of relief, with the rest of the cap hit remaining on the books while the player plays in the AHL. There wouldn't be a huge difference between the two but trading Glass saves the team an additional $500K -- and in situations like these every penny counts.

The second (and bigger) solution would be to trade Kevin Klein. Klein is a serviceable third-pairing defenseman who makes $2.9-million per year. That's a lot of money for a position the Rangers can service for much cheaper. McIlrath, for example, outplayed Klein in the preseason and makes $2.3-million less a year. Swapping the two and finding a way to trade Glass (assuming there's no salary return on either move) saves the Rangers $2.8-million. Add that to the roughly $400K they already have and that's $3.2-million worth of cap space, more than enough flexibility to go into the year with.

If the Rangers really weren't sold on him they could also demote Jarret Stoll -- and remove his entire $800K cap hit -- but that isn't expected to be an outcome here. Plus, it would leave the Rangers without a depth forward which is never a good idea.

Thoughts on this, guys? Any moves you'd like to see?