Vitaly Kravtsov highlights Rangers’ weak salary cap situation

This was a very good night for the Rangers, who built a 60-minute driving performance on Tuesday at Their 3-1 victory over the Lightning At the opening of the 2022-23 season at The Garden.

Mika Zibanijad was brilliant, Igor Shesterkin was as sharp as ever, Kabu Kaku looked like he belonged at the top, the new players fit well, and the club kept more of their squad in five against five, while excelling in their specialty units.

But (and you had to know this was coming), it only took 7:01 to make it clear how poorly the Blueshirts’ salary cap was put in and what kind of tightrope they would have to cross in order to hit the trade deadline. Enough capital to make a difference.

Because at 7:01 in the first period, Vitaly Kravtsov left the ice, substitute and match forever with an upper body injury after collapsing along the right offensive boards after taking a hit from Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman. .

Alexis Lavrinier switched from the left wing in the third line to the right wing in the second line, with Artemi Panarin and Vincent Trochek. Line crackle. Filip Chytil played with a team of rotating wingspans in his unit, while coach Gerard Gallant massaged his tail six—well, five—without issues throughout the game.

But the problem is how Kravtsov’s absence (day by day, what else?) affects the cap, and not necessarily the lineup. Because the Rangers will be destroyed if they take multiple injuries at the same time. Depth is questionable enough not only on the team, but also through the organization. More than that, there is simply not enough space to deal with the rash of absence.

Vitaly Kravtsov of the New York Rangers was injured during the first period by a check from Victor Hedman.
Getty Images

Here’s the deal. Maintaining two additional strikers and a 23-man roster as a result of the upper-body injury Sammy Place sustained Saturday in an exhibition game against Islanders, which took the winger out of that game, the Bluescherts entered the season at around $183,500.

Due to the accumulation of space, it was necessary for the club to reduce to one additional striker as soon as possible. Every dollar Rangers fail to save means roughly $4.65 the team won’t have to spend by the deadline.

But the cut may not be possible if Kravtsov has been out for any length of time. If he goes out for back-to-back games on Thursday and Friday in Minnesota and Winnipeg, respectively, Dryden Hunt, who was apparently destined for exemptions, will have to step in. If Blaze is ready, the Rangers will have one healthy spare.

Even if Kravtsov, who played three innings for a 1:38 aggregate, were put into an injured reserve position, the Blueshirts wouldn’t have room to accommodate the call-up of Julien Gautier, for example. It will be a minefield there for the Rangers.

That, of course, would land on Chris Drury’s general manager board. There is only so much he can do. There is no fat to cut back on the menu. Rangers will not only have to be good, but they should be as lucky as they were last season, when Zebani Nejad, Chris Kreider, Jacob Tropa and Kandri Miller did not miss a single game due to injury or illness, while Lavrinier missed two goals, and Goudreau missed three, Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren missed four.

kabu kaku
Noah K. Murray

This is just the reality. But the Blues’ efforts on Tuesday were just as real. Kakko’s presence and work along walls and in tight spaces helped reduce Kreider-Zibanejad’s association, one of the goals set by both No. 93 and No. 20.

“We had a lot of individual achievement on the rush opportunities,” Kreider said. “We want to tip the ice and be a riding team where we control the shifts and weed out opponents at their end from shift to shift and line to line. We want to be more consistent in that.”

This task was accomplished in this. The Blueshirts, by eye test at least, were the best under the hashtags. There was also a strong playing goal and a shortened one from Zipanegad, who shot out of the gate with nine shots (in 12 attempts) on Andrei Vasilevsky.

Vitaly Kravtsov is playing a puck.
Noah K. Murray

“We want to get more discus and create more second chances,” Zibanjad said at the end of the camp. “But when you talk about five out of five and what we can do better, special teams are called that for a reason. We want to be at the top in both. [the power play and the penalty kill].

“If the match is 3-2, I don’t care where the goals come from as long as we have all three. They all count the same.”

Indeed, there was a strong playing goal, a short goal from Zibanijad and a five-to-five goal from Goudreau. One plus one plus one equals 3-1.

It will be a season-long challenge for my druids to get the math to work well.

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