All eyes are on Henrik Lundqvist this offseason. There is a legitimate possibility that he is not with the Rangers next season. A buyout is a possibility, but a Henrik Lundqvist retirement is not out of the realm of possibility. Larry Brooks had some thoughts on Lundqvist retiring from the NHL and joining brother Joel in Sweden with Frolunda.
There is a non-zero chance we see a Henrik Lundqvist retirement. His salary is “only” $5.5 million on his $8.5 million cap hit. He’s now very clearly the backup to Igor Shesterkin. Alex Georgiev’s situation doesn’t really play a role here, since it’s clear this is Shesterkin’s team going forward. Will Lundqvist want to be the backup? For a discounted price?
Therein lies the biggest question. If Lundqvist is ok with one last run as the backup, mentoring his young padewan learner, then he’s likely to be with the Rangers next season. If he still thinks he has the gas in the tank to be a starter, then Frolunda may be the only option.
A trade is highly unlikely, as his cap hit in a flat cap post COVID era is simply unmovable. A buyout doesn’t help the Rangers that much, bringing their dead cap space close to $20 million in a flat cap season. The only scenario is either a 50% salary retention trade (not likely) or retirement from the NHL.
If a Henrik Lundqvist retirement is on the horizon, then it represents an anti-climactic end to his Rangers career. No home-ice farewell, no Stanley Cup, no standing ovation from the crowd, and no final “HEN-RIK” chant from the fans. Just a retirement announcement and a jersey retirement ceremony in the near future.
That isn’t the way for him to go out. But sometimes life doesn’t go the way we want.