Will the New York Rangers qualify Alexandar Georgiev?


Restricted free agents must submit their qualifying offers on July 12, the day before free agency. Previously, it was standard practice in the NHL for all RFAs to qualify, unless they were older confirmed AHLs for which the team had no room. If a player is not qualified, he becomes a free agent at noon on free agent day, so this cuts off the FRG and loses all signing rights. The only exception to this is if the team chose arbitration in the first window, which ends today.

In recent seasons, because the salary cap has not increased as expected, teams have made difficult decisions about NHL limit RFAs, especially those whose OQs put them above what the team wanted to spend on the role the player was filling. A new speculative game this summer was born out of that reality: guessing which viable NHL players won’t qualify.

Elliotte Friedman said at least three times that I heard on the radio or on podcasts that he wondered if the New York Rangers would qualify goaltender Alexandar Georgiev. Or even if they can. The idea here is that Rangers have a bona fide star goaltender, one who could be called the best in the world right now, and they don’t need to spend $2.65 million (Georgiev’s QO) to a backup. From that perspective, he looks ripe to be traded, not unqualified, and I expect him to be traded before July 12 and a new team can negotiate a deal with him.

However, it’s interesting to wonder if Rangers can actually get into his QO and still sign players on July 13 that they want to keep. The reason why it’s even a problem is because Rangers have been willing to trade Georgiev for years but their demand is still said to be very high and nobody wants to pay him. If Rangers get too smart and overplay this hand, teams might just decide to wait for them and go for him with no trade-in price. So far, the Rangers have asked for a high pick, an NHL player and a prospect, which is way above the value of an unproven goaltender.

It’s no absolute mystery if the Rangers box qualify it. We can calculate Rangers off-season ceiling space and see what it looks like instead of guessing. We’ve done this before for the Leafs and found they have plenty of off-season space and next to no in-season space next October if they all sign their RFAs. It’s not that hard to do that for Rangers.

The calculation of the offseason cap takes effect on July 13 and extends until the day before the start of the season in October. There is a 10% cushion that allows teams to temporarily exceed the salary cap when signing players. But in a system that works against young, rebuilding teams, two-way contract players’ hits count in proportion to their NHL days the previous year. Rangers have many who have played part or full seasons. They also have a lot of RFA, to qualify and some key players on expiring UFA deals that they will want to keep. Their cap is tight.

New York Rangers Offseason Cap Calculation

Last name Cap Hit (or eligible offer) Days in the NHL If round trip Cap reached on a pro rata basis Projected list
Last name Cap Hit (or eligible offer) Days in the NHL If round trip Cap reached on a pro rata basis Projected list
One-way contracts
Panarin 11,642,857 11,642,857 11,642,857
Zibanejad 8,500,000 8,500,000 8,500,000
Kreider 6,500,000 6,500,000 6,500,000
good row 3,641,667 3,641,667 3,641,667
Chytil 2,300,000 2,300,000 2,300,000
Reaves 1,750,000 1,750,000 1,750,000
Gautier 800 000 800 000 800 000
Fox 9,500,000 9,500,000 9,500,000
trouba 8,000,000 8,000,000 8,000,000
Lindgren 3,000,000 3,000,000 3,000,000
Nemeth 2,500,000 2,500,000 2,500,000
Shesterkin 5,666,667 5,666,667 5,666,667
Blais 1,525,000 1,525,000 1,525,000
Kravstov 875,000 875,000 875,000
Rydahl 750,000 750,000
Tinordi 900,000 900,000
Two-way contracts
Lafreniere 925,000 200 925,000 925,000
Miller 925,000 200 925,000 925,000
Schneider 925,000 109 504 125 925,000
Hunt 762,500 200 762,500 762,500
Khodorenko 925,000 0 0
Trivigno 925,000 0 0
Othmann 894 167 0 0
Pajuniemi 883 750 1 4,419
henriksson 870,000 0 0
Korczak 859 167 0 0
Edstrom 846 667 0 0
Cuyle 828 333 0 0
Fills 820,000 0 0
Brodzinsky 762,500 74 282 125
Jones 925,000 32 148,000
Lundkvist 925,000 96 444,000
Scanlin 925,000 0 0
Skinner 850 833 0 0
Robertson 797,500 0 0
Lindbom 855,000 0 0
garand 828 333 0 0
Eligible offers
kakko 874 125 one way 874 125 874 125
Georgiev 2,650,000 one way 2,650,000 2,650,000
Elmer 787,500 0 0
Obtain 750,000 27 101 250
richard 874 125 0 0
Ronning 787,500 0 0
Rüschhoff 813 750 0 0
hajek 917 831 187 858 172 917 831
Wall 874 125 0 0
Contracts: 44 20
Dead hat 3,427,778 3,427,778 3,427,778
Total: 98 866 719 79,757,685 77,608,445
Salary cap 82,500,000 82,500,000
10% overrun 8,250,000
Total: 90,750,000 82,500,000
Cape space 10,992,315 4,891,555

What that math shows is that if they qualify for every RFA on July 12, they will have almost $11 million of cap space in the offseason to make deals. However, most of that is bonus cushion, and that seems like a lot until you sign some big UFAs and Kaapo Kakko and it’s gone in a puff of smoke. They have Andrew Copp, Tyler Motte, Ryan Strome, Frank Vatrano and several other lower level UFAs.

I don’t know the Rangers well enough to guess their roster for next season, but putting in the obvious picks of players who were full-time this season, I get a tiny $4.8 million of space on a list of 20 players with at least Kakko due to an increase in this number. It’s tight at the Leafs, and maybe even worse. Even if you imagine a trade now for Georgiev that gives them a $750,000 backup or even a good million dollar pro like Tampa usually has, they have tough decisions to make. That’s their problem and it only means for us that Vatrano could be available, which is a good thing for teams looking for forwards of a certain type that cost less than $4 million.

Thus, Rangers can absolutely qualify Georgiev. And they should absolutely consider themselves so sharp that they cut themselves if they didn’t trade it before noon on July 13. They need that space, and they should just lower the demand enough to get it ahead of time. I expect that to happen.

It looks like a chicken game, a game where teams that want a goaltender under $3 million could smash first and raise their offers. Georgiev is eligible for arbitration and is unlikely to exceed his QO in arbitration. Speculating that they won’t qualify him misses the mark on this one. Now Kasperi Kapanen on the other hand…

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