BREAKING: The New York Rangers have bought out the contract of Henrik Lundqvist

The New York Rangers have confirmed that they have bought out the contract of longtime goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. The long-expected move will end Lundqvist’s 15-year tenure with the team.

The Rangers released this statement on Wednesday morning:

“Few players have been as important to the Rangers franchise as Henrik Lundqvist, and we are incredibly grateful for all he has done for our organization,” said James L. Dolan, Executive Chairman, MSG Sports. “Over his 15-year tenure, he not only established himself as one of the best goaltenders to ever play the game, he has also been one of hockey’s fiercest competitors and most effective ambassadors. He will always be a part of the Rangers family.”

“We would like to thank Henrik for his immeasurable contributions to the New York Rangers,” Rangers President and Alternate Governor John Davidson said. “From the time I met Henrik when he first came to New York in 2005, he has been the consummate professional. His tireless work ethic, passion for the game, and love of the Rangers and New York City enabled him to become one of the greatest goaltenders in hockey and one of the best players in the history of our franchise. We all wish Henrik and his family the best going forward.”

It was not an unexpected move as the Rangers were not expected to carry three goaltenders into next season, so they will now go forward with an Igor ShesterkinAlexandar Georgiev tandem in nets. The 38-year-old Lundqvist appeared in a career-low 30 games this season and went 10-12-3 with a 3.16 goals-against average and .905 save percentage. Rangers GM Jeff Gorton said very openly that the team will not go into next season with the three-goalie situation through which it struggled for the entire second half of last season,

The buyout of the final season of his seven-year, $59.5 million deal has created an additional $3 million of 2020-21 cap space for the Rangers, who are engulfed with just over $23 million of it in the aftermath of Marc Staal’s trade to the Red Wings. The buyout will add $1.5 million in dead space for 2021-22.

Last week, a report surfaced that defenseman Libor Hajek, who was inside the NHL bubble with the team but did not take part in any games, was asked in an interview in his home country of the Czech Republic what Henrik Lundqvist said to teammates following the team’s elimination in the qualifying round at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes.

“It was very sad,” said Hajek. “After the last match with Carolina, he said goodbye, saying it was his last match. He said he didn’t know what would happen to him if the Rangers bought him out or he went somewhere else. It was hard for him. He is a great fighter, the best hockey player in terms of approach, training and humanity that I ever met. I even bought the same jeans he had to look like him.”

Over his 15 seasons with the Rangers, Lundqvist not only established himself as one of the greatest players in franchise history but also as an exceptional ambassador in the New York Metropolitan Area off the ice. In April of 2014, Henrik and his wife, Therese, founded the Henrik Lundqvist Foundation (HLF). Through its fundraising efforts and community outreach, HLF strives to create positive change in the lives of children and adults throughout the world through education and health services. Since its inception, HLF has directed more than $3.2 million to charitable partners in New York City, Sweden, and the Dominican Republic, as well as its own program, the HLF Young Ambassador Program. In addition, HLF has directly given grants and made commitments of over $1.5 million supporting children’s health and education.

So going into next season, the Rangers will be without Henrik Lundqvist since the 2005-06 season when the King ascended to the throne.