The future of New York Rangers franchise goaltender Henrik Lundqvist continues to be unclear as every day passes. He has not been seen or heard from since the team returned from Toronto after their three-game series loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.
The only statement that has circulated regarding the 15-year veteran was made by the team’s general manager Jeff Gorton when he told NHL.com Â that the club â€œwould not be going with three goaliesâ€ whenever the 2020-2021 season begins.
Following a Â conversation with team president John Davidson, Hank and his family headed back to his home in Sweden.
The team has three options available to them;
- Work out a trade with Henrik. He has a no-trade clause in his contract so he would have to agree on any trade transaction the team would like to make.
- The club could buy out his contract.
- Lundqvist could retire at the end of this season.
Possible Trade Destinations
Boston- The Boston Bruins goalie situation turned upside down during the playoffs when starter Tukka Rask decided to leave his team and opt-out of the NHL Playoff bubble during their series against the Carolina Hurricanes. Jaroslav Halak played the rest of the series, but the goaltending issue remains a top priority in Beantown. Henrik could contend to be the starter on a one year deal with a team that has the Stanley Cup in their sights next season.
Calgary– The Flames lived and died with the success of former Rangers goalie Cam Talbot. His inconsistency in this year’s playoff displayed the inefficiencies in goal. Lundqvist could battle for the number one spot in Alberta.
Some other notable destinations could be Arizona, Las Vegas, Los Angelos Toronto, Washington, and Chicago.
The buyout period starts on either Sept. 25 or on the first day of the Stanley Cup final (whichever is later) and runs through either Oct. 8 or six days after the Cup clincher (whichever is later). Buying out the final year of Lundqvistâ€™s contract would save the team $3 million under the cap for â€™20-21, and add $1.5 million of dead money to the cap in â€™21-22 per CapFriendly.com. The Rangers already have close to Â $7.495 million in dead space into the 2020-21 offseason.
Retirement a long shot
The least possible option would be retirement. Henrik and hisÂ 459 victories rank sixth in NHL history and the Rangers would save most of his $8.5 million salary-cap hit if he decided to walk away from the club and the NHL. It is believed the entire $8.5 million would be wiped off the books.
Henrik would be leaving a lot of money on the table. There were some rumblings that Hank would play with his brother Joel inÂ Sweden for Frolunda, but since he will be returning to New York to send his two children back to school, that option is pretty much eliminated.
Hank still believes he can play, and would most likely want to see what if any other options are available to him should the Rangers decide to go with the duo of Shestrekin and Georgiev.
Whenever a star player reaches the point when he and his team are no longer on the same page, things never seem to end well. Â John Davison told Newsday’s Colin Stephenson last month,
â€œWe will continue having our discussions to figure out what avenues we’re going to take as we move forward. We’ll handle things the right way and just move forward with this.â€™â€™
Fans can only hope that if this is indeed the end of Hanks’s tenure with New York, it ends with the same dignity and respect he has shown the organization and the great fans in Rangerstown.