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The Rangers are being hailed for underpaying this year’s top free agent


Sergachev, who started the 2016-17 campaign playing four games in Montreal before returning to junior hockey, is entering the first year of his three-year entry-level deal, making him not only a talented option for the Lightning blue line, but also an affordable one that does not need to be protected in the expansion draft, either.

We didn’t know what that number was going to be if we kept Jonathan, or the length if we signed him and kept him, but we know what Mikhail’s cap number is going to be if he’s on our team at the start of the season, Yzerman said. That helps us with our cap space if we want to sign our other free agents (Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson, to name two) or other players we have interest in.

All of that factored into Thursday’s intriguing trade of youngsters that should help both teams. But in Yzerman’s mind there is still nothing more important than filling the big hole on the Lightning defense with a big-time prospect coming off a terrific year that included a Memorial Cup championship.

The No. 1 reason to make this trade was to get the young defenseman, and ultimately it’s a deal that made sense for us.

The Rangers are being hailed for underpaying this year’s top free agent, Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton are getting a divorce, Carey Price is the richest goalie in history and the Capitals are bursting at their salary cap seams.

Meanwhile the Penguins’ key contributors came to life. Phil Kessel, without a goal since May 21, netted No. 8 for these playoffs, just as Malkin predicted. Conor Sheary and Ron Hainsey also scored in the second period as Pittsburgh put the game out of reach. Malkin, Crosby and Kessel combined for eight points in the victory.

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