Guest Post: With contract ending, Henrik Lundqvist, Rangers need a breakup

It's time for the unthinkable

This is a guest post from Brandon Cohen, who used to run Blue Line Station. This is not something I (Dave) am ready for.

With Valentine’s Day behind us, cuffing season is almost at its close. Couples are settling into a nice groove or ending things with an eye on the spring and beyond. If you think of Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers as a relationship, it would be more like a long-term engagement, with the ring being something both parties have interest in. However, the engagement is on the rocks.

Let me preface the remainder of this article by saying this is not a statistical analysis. I haven’t sifted through the data behind Henrik Lundqvist and Alex Georgiev for this article, nor did I think it was necessary. This is about what Lundqvist wants and what the Rangers want.

Continuing to liken this to a relationship, let’s take a look at the parties involved. Henrik Lundqvist wants to play. I am sure he wants to finish his career with the Rangers, and I am sure he is not begging the Rangers to trade him, but the star goalie has started four games in 2020 with no signs of more games coming any time soon.

Meanwhile, the New York Rangers want to develop their young goalies. It’s a reasonable desire for a team that is in the latter portion of a rebuild, and one that features two starting calibre NHL goalies below the age of 25. For the team, the argument is not that Henrik Lundqvist is not good enough. Instead, the argument is that the other options are too good.

So what we have is a long-term happily engaged couple who want different things. Think of it as one partner wants kids and the other wants to travel the world. These differences are too significant to mend, as the Rangers cannot afford to give Lundqvist the ice time he desires, and Lundqvist must know that spending the rest of his career as a glorified backup is wasting his talent.

While the comparison of Georgiev vs. Lundqvist holds some merit, the man who is making the decision for all parties involved is Igor Shesterkin. Shesterkin is far too good to split starts like Cory Schneider did with Martin Brodeur when the latter was in his final days with the New Jersey Devils, and even more importantly he is far too valuable to the organization. As stated earlier, the Rangers are nearing the end of their rebuild.

When the Rangers want to compete, they need a battle-tested Shesterkin ready for an NHL starter’s workload. Unless Lundqvist is willing to spend the last years of his career playing below 40 games, Sheshterkin won’t get the workload he needs. Whereas Georgiev is a cost-controlled, young goalie who still benefits from practice and backup time, Henrik Lundqvist is Henrik Lundqvist. It’s a waste of his talent to sit him on the bench for 45+ games.

Thus, the breaking point has been reached. Henrik Lundqvist requires more starts than the Rangers can afford to give him, New York already has their perfect backup goalie on their current roster, and Lundqvist’s replacement is also already in the Big Apple.

Emotions say Lundqvist should be a Ranger forever, but emotions don’t win championships, and emotions don’t develop prospects. Henrik Lundqvist deserves to compete for a championship and play 45+ games a season, while the Rangers deserve to develop their top goalie prospect.

It’s not him, it’s not the team. It’s mutual. While the engagement has been a roaring success, this offseason, it’s time for the most difficult breakup yet.

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  • So let it be written, so let it be done.

    IGOR . . IGOR . . IGOR . .

    Let’s Go Rangers . . . . . Let’s Go Rangers . . . . .

      • Georgie has no value to the team, as a back up. Shesty will be the #1 going forward and Georgie the back up, if he is here.

        Best to trade Georgie now while you can get something for him.

  • “emotions don’t win championships, and emotions don’t develop prospects.” No, but emotions are why I watch sports.

  • It’s time for this to happen, sadly. If Hank wants a shot at the title, he should engineer a trade to Colorado. As Andy mentioned, Grubauer got hurt last night; it’s now a perfect situation for Hank and a team with a legitimate shot at a Cup. It’s time to say goodbye Henrik, you were the best Ranger goaltender I’ve ever seen play, and I’ve been a fan since the late 70s. Take a swing at the ring!! And then head off into the sunset.

  • It is time for Henrik to put selfish self aside for the good of the organization he so dearly loves. Either retire now as a Ranger, or go elsewhere. Love Henrik, and he has undoubtedly been the best Ranger player for over a decade, carried this team on his shoulders, deserves his contract, but is standing in the way of development progress. He isn’t playing, which must be killing him, and I personally don’t see that changing anytime soon. Henrik is the next Benoit Allaire, in my opinion, just not for the Rangers, unfortunately. Time to try one last time to win a Cup for a contender. Be realistic and waive his NTC or languish on the bench, while hurting the team with his enormous salary for another season.

  • It’s sad that they had to buyout Shattenkirk in order to trade for Trouba and extend him and now Hank becomes the cap casualty.

    Any type of ill willed breakup will rank right next to how Leetch was handled at the end of his Rangers career.

  • A contract is a contract, it’s needs to be honoured by both parties. If Henk doesn’t want to waive his NMC that doesn’t make him selfish or not a team player. On the flip side if the FO buys out Lundqvists contract in the off-season it doesn’t make them evil or disrespectful. It’s simply the business of the game.

  • The Rangers and Lundqvist both negotiated the contract he has now, including the NMC. So whatever Lundqvist wants at this point, he has earned. It is his decision alone to make, not management. So whatever you decide, Hank, you have my support.

  • Finally, an astutely written article from someone using his mind rather than his heart! Amen to this article 👍🏻

  • Does anyone actually think that Hank thought this would happen when he prepared for the season?
    Wtf dude, show some balls and quit. He has what one / maybe 2 years left in him, and he is going to waste them styling his hair????

    At some point you gotta tell yourself that “my time is more valuable that money”…. I would hope at this point he has more money (and endorsements coming) than he could ever spend… why GIVE AWAY one of the few playing years he has left to a 22 year old pimple faced new goalie?!

    This isnt about him being a stand-up team guy….this isnt about finishing with the Rangers. And he sure as hell is not doing a good-bye tour.

    This is about the Rangers in-truth got in a pickle with Igor, disrespected Henrik, and passed him over by two youngsters.

    So HE has to go to Gorts, tell him and DQ off and DEMAND a trade — anything else (a) shows little pride, (b) no balls, (c) ruins any chance of playing again ——— all this UNLESS he retires immediately after the season. In which case I eat my words.

    Hank, babe, go back to Sweden, practice, gear up for the Olympics and retire with “some” dignity bro !!

  • Henrik has still got it. Coming into this playoff against the Caines, I hope the management is smart enough to choose him over Igor.
    The young Shasterkin is a great goalie, but a huge risk at playoff time. Though I like the goaltender very much, he has not played the best teams, such as Boston, or the Lightning, not to talk about no playoff experience.

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