Larry Brooks at the New York Post reports that while Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin will be sidelined for the first few weeks of the year, it won't be enough time to qualify for the long-term injury exemption.
In order for a player to be eligible to be placed on long term injured reserve (LTIR) the injury must cause them to miss at least 10 games or 24 days.
…this is important to the Rangers as many felt the additional cap space putting these two on LTIR would give the Rangers could have been used to help get Stepan signed.
Here's how LTIR cap relief works according to Cap Geek…
"The placement of a player on LTIR does not remove the player's cap hit from the team's cap payroll — the cap hit continues to count. Nor does the placement of a player on LTIR provide the team with any additional cap-space savings that can be banked for future use while the team operates below the upper limit.
Placing a player on LTIR only provides relief if the team's cap payroll or "Averaged Club Salary" begins to exceed the upper limit. The amount of LTI relief is limited to the amount the team has gone over the cap — less the amount of cap space the team had at the time the LTIR transaction took place — and not the entire amount of the injured player's salary.
Further to the previous paragraph, eligible long-term injury space is calculated on the day the player is placed on LTIR. If the salary cap is $70.0 million and the team has a $69.0 million cap payroll the day Player A with a $4.0 million cap hit is placed on LTIR, the team's cap payroll or "Averaged Club Salary" can only exceed the cap by $3.0 million at any point thereafter.
Breakdown: $69.0M + $4.0M – $70.0M = $3.0M"
So with the cap set at $64.3M this season and the Rangers at $61,731,667 cap payroll, if Callahan ($4.275M) and Hagelin ($2.275M) do end up going on LTIR the Rangers will be able to exceed the cap by $3,981,667.
Breakdown: $61,731,667 (NYR cap salary) + $6.55M (Cally/Hags combined yearly salary) – $64.3M (cap) = $3,981,667
Meaning they'll have $6,550,000 of available space to re-sign both Stepan and Zucarello, which should hopefully only cost $5.5 million.
Once the injured player is healthy, the team must reduce its cap payroll below the upper limit before the player can be removed from LTIR. Meaning a couple of players will have to be waived from the roster to make room for both Cally and Hags while keeping them under the original cap ceiling.
…i hope I didn't confuse anyone or completely get this wrong with my explanation of how this could help the Rangers sign Stepan and Zuccarello. Other avenues the Rangers could use to assist in the re-signing of both players is by demoting Asham and Powe for a $1.9 million savings as well as taking advantage of the summer cap which increases the upper limit by 10% during the offseason. Both LTIR and summer cap are just temporary fixes so I think the move ultimately ends up being the demotion of Asham and Powe.