The standoff between the Rangers and restricted free agents Tony DeAngelo and Brendan Lemieux continues as the club prepares to report Thursday for training camp, The Post has learned.
President John Davidson thus is faced with the prospect of opening his first camp at the Blueshirts’ helm without two of his projected young, important roster pieces in attendance.
The Rangers, we’re told, are standing on their respective one-year qualifying offer of $874,125 to each player. Neither 23-year-old has indicated the slightest interest in signing for that number, which, by the way, represents less than the entry-level cap of $925,000 at which the team signed neophytes Kaapo Kakko, Vitali Kravtsov, Adam Fox, Igor Shesterkin and Yegor Rykov this summer.
According to calculations provided by Capfriendly.com, only one player with as many games experience as Lemieux (72 games), much less DeAngelo (132), has signed a QO coming off entry level this summer. That was the Blackhawks’ Brendan Perlini, in for $874,125 with 199 NHL games on his résumé. The Blue Jackets’ Sonny Milano signed his qualifier with an NHL career total of 70 games. A total of 13 players coming off entry level signed QO’s this summer, per Capfriendly.com.
As restricted free agents without salary arbitration rights, DeAngelo’s and Lemieux’s only leverage would come through withholding their services or by attracting an offer sheet. The Rangers, who have approximately $3.685 million of cap space working off a shadow roster that includes two goaltenders, 12 forwards and five defensemen, would be stressed to match a noteworthy offer sheet for either DeAngelo or Lemieux.
There would be no compensation in return for an unmatched offer sheet of up to $1,395,053 per; compensation of a third-rounder on an unmatched offer sheet of between $1.395,053.01 per and $2,113,716 per; and compensation of a second-rounder on an offer sheet for between $2,113,716.01 and $4,227,437 per.
Offer sheets of this kind are extremely rare in the NHL, but a team with space would put a hurting on the Rangers by making a bid at a strategic hour during camp. Compensation would not fill the hole created by either player’s departure.
The Rangers haven’t had a contract-related absence from camp since 2013, when Derek Stepan missed the first 16 days while negotiating his second contract coming off entry level before signing a two-year deal worth $3.075 million. Winger JT Miller, the last varsity player to sign a QO, came in at $874,000 in 2015-16.
This presents an interesting test for Davidson, who took a fairly firm hand overseeing negotiations in previous stops at Columbus and St. Louis, but was certainly willing to authorize traditionally New York-type spending to sign Artemi Panarin ($11,642,857 per) as a free agent and Trouba ($8 million per) after his acquisition from Winnipeg.
The Rangers, of their own doing, don’t have space with which to maneuver and offer their unsigned Group II’s competitive multi-year bids, but neither can they especially afford their absences entering the season. It will be interesting to see whether holdouts (a term not used as a pejorative) would prompt Davidson to come off the QO or instead induce the club president to dig in. There’s one day left for the parties to obviate such speculation.
Matt Beleskey will be assigned directly to the AHL Wolf Pack and thus will not attend Rangers’ camp, The Post has learned. Beleskey, the 31-year-old winger obtained from Boston as part of the 2017 pre-deadline package in return for Rick Nash, will carry a cap charge of $825,000 in Hartford. … Lemieux and DeAngelo are both taking part in the informal skates at the Blueshirts’ practice rink. … Boo Nieves, who has worn No. 24 the last two years, has switched at his own request to No. 15. That will allow Kakko to don the No. 24 he has worn in Finland.