The NY Rangers goalie controversy got a little more interesting. A Henrik Lundqvist retirement had been rumored, but there was nothing substantial to it. Instead, he has returned to New York, indicating he will not play with Frolunda in Sweden this season like the rumors suggested. That appears to not be the case, as Lundqvist is back for his kids to begin the school year.
John Davidson confirmed that he spoke with Lundqvist when the season ended. The conversation ensured him that the Rangers would not carry three goalies next season. This can be interpreted in a few different ways. Now that the Sweden option appears out for Lundqvist, the options change a bit.
A Henrik Lundqvist buyout is still on the table. The Rangers would get $3 million in cap space, but add $1.5 million in dead cap space for the 2021-2022 season. There is certainly an argument that the $3 million for 2020-2021 is more valuable than the $1.5 million in dead space the following year.
A buyout would only occur under two conditions. The first is that there is no trade market for Alex Georgiev. The second is that Lundqvist requests it and wants to pursue a Stanley Cup elsewhere. The Rangers are unlikely to burn bridges with the face of their franchise for the past 15 years. Be forewarned, you may not like where Lundqvist ends up.
An Alex Georgiev Trade
Igor Shesterkin is the starter. No matter what the Rangers do, one of Georgiev or Lundqvist will be the backup. That’s just facts at this point. The Rangers also won’t (note: can’t) trade Henrik Lundqvist. If the buyout isn’t an option, trading Georgiev is the only other option.
Georgiev’s trade value alone is likely not that high. Jake Allen fetched a third round pick yesterday, but that’s a different situation. If he isn’t packaged in a larger deal, getting a Cam Talbot-esque return should be the target. The issue with this is there are 900 or so free agent goalies. None of them are 24 years old though.
Perhaps Gergiev’s greatest trade value is as a piece in a larger deal, perhaps for a 2C or a legit 1LD. The Rangers have the pieces to make something like this work.
Just a Straight Up Retirement
Maybe the return to Frolunda rumors were there just to add a post-retirement activity for Henrik Lundqvist? If Lundqvist is planning to retire, and his kids are rooted in school in New York, then why stay in Sweden? Sure it makes sense, but it doesn’t account for personal life.
Maybe Lundqvist takes his competitive nature to the front office, the way Chris Drury did. Or perhaps he just enjoys retirement.
A Henrik Lundqvist retirement clears up the full $8.5 million cap hit, so it certainly helps the Rangers. It’s just hard to picture Lundqvist retiring with a year left on his deal. He’s ultra competitive, and he’d want one more kick at the can.