The cap games have begun.
The Blueshirts have engaged in a flurry of taxi-squad personnel moves this week. Colin Blackwell, who copiloted Thursday’s 3-2 overtime victory in Buffalo, has moved to the taxi squad twice since his original Jan. 23 recall, thus saving the club $6,250 on the cap per day he is off the NHL roster. The move costs the winger real money, his daily pay on the taxi squad $1,810.34 less than he makes while with the Blueshirts.
Expect to see younger guys such as K’Andre Miller and Kaapo Kakko shuttled, as well. Already on Friday, Blackwell, Miller and Kakko all were assigned to the taxi squad. The Miller move saved the Rangers $10,560.34 on the cap, while costing the defenseman $5,137.93 in pay, the same as Kakko. Any day that Kakko is on the taxi squad saves the Rangers $30,818.97 in cap space. Lafreniere cannot be sent to the taxi squad because the QMJHL, to which the 19-year-old would have to be assigned if not with the Blueshirts, is currently playing.
Jack Johnson, currently injured, and Brendan Smith would need waivers in order to spend time on the taxi squad. The Blueshirts would save $9,267.24 on each per day, with the veterans’ pay unaffected by virtue of being on one-way contracts. In fact, they would be spared escrow deduction while on the taxi squad.
Similarly, the Rangers have moved players from the AHL roster for day trips to the taxi squad while the Wolf Pack conducts training camp. Anthony Greco and Tim Gettinger have each gotten the call for a day, with general manager Jeff Gorton attempting to spread the wealth. Players in AHL camp are not getting paid. Those on the taxi squad are receiving their full AHL salaries. So that was $1,274.14 for Greco (on a $200,000 minor league salary) and $560.34 for Gettinger ($65,000).
The Rangers are hopeful that Ryan Strome, who sustained an unidentified lower body injury with 3:47 remaining in regulation, will be good to go for Saturday’s Garden match against the Penguins.