Potential Henrik Lundqvist buyout opens options for NY Rangers

Last night, Libor Hajek spilled the beans that Henrik Lundqvist may have played his final game with the NY Rangers. Whether or not this is true remains to be seen, but this is becoming more and more of a reality. If, and possibly when, the Rangers pull the trigger on the Henrik Lundqvist buyout, more offseason options present themselves.

Buyout Cap Implications

It’s well known that a buyout will save the Rangers $3 million in cap space this coming season. It will also cost them $1.5 million in dead cap space the following season. This is the simple math of the buyout.

The buyout will leave the Rangers with $17 million this offseason. In a flat cap, every dollar counts. The Rangers have four key RFAs and one key UFA to sign. The $3 million means the Rangers don’t have to trade Brendan Smith if they don’t want to.

Roster Options

The $3 million, $17 million total, gives the Rangers the flexibility to keep all 5 key free agents if they choose to. If you assume $6 million would go to Jesper Fast, Alex Georgiev, and Brendan Lemieux, then $11 million goes to Ryan Strome and Tony DeAngelo. It is worth noting that it is unlikely the Rangers keep all five players.

This is the definition of kicking the can down the road though. It’s highly unlikely the Rangers would commit long term to both Strome and DeAngelo. It’s even more unlikely that both would take less than their fair market value on long term deals. Kicking the can down the road is fine, but at some point the Rangers will need to either commit or walk away.

Trade Flexibility

With so many teams imposing internal caps this season, the Rangers are primed to take advantage of a few teams. The extra $3 million in cap space does give them more flexibility to take on a larger cap hit in the short term. This of course assumes the cap will eventually rise within the next few seasons.

This is a dangerous one, as any player with a big contract is always a risky proposition. The Jack Eichel pipe dreams aren’t going to happen. But what about Hampus Lindholm? Vince Dunn?

Let’s get wild. What if, for the Rangers to grab Jacob Chychrun from Arizona, they also need to take on the last year of Derek Stepan? When you pair this with the fact the Rangers are unlikely to keep all 5 RFAs, then it becomes an interesting black hole of hypotheticals. Pure speculation and spitballing though.

A Henrik Lundqvist buyout opens many options for the Rangers. It certainly allows Jeff Gorton to get creative in a one of a kind offseason. What the Rangers do with that space remains to be seen.

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  • Chychrun and is the one of the few overall good contract the Coyotes have. (Lawson Crouse too)And he’s only due $3.3 mill(no bonus) in salary next year vs a cap hit of $4.6 mill. And at 22 years old he’s exactly the kind of guy the Coyotes would keep.

    They are looking to move OEL and his $4mill bonus. Even if they have to retain cap for him it’s a much better alternative for them than moving Chychrun. Stepan is due a $3mill bonus this year but a $2Mill salary so he also costs below his cap hit.($5 mill in cost vs $6.5mill in cap hit) I am sure they would happy to be rid of him either way. I would imagine they would also be happy to move Kessel(Before they have to pay his $5mill bonus) (Good luck) and Grabner too.

    The reality is there is not much of a match up between what we need and what they can offer us.

  • I feel we need a good #2C, and that Strome will be offered something fair for a 2 year contract. He is still young enough to keep, but not overpay for. I also feel that we need to open spots on defense. Maybe B.Smith and one of our 3rd round picks for a 2nd rounder.
    Tony D will negotiate hard and I think he talks his way off of the club.

    • The Rangers low balled Tony D last summer, they argued $50 or $75k instead of just giving him what he wanted. I’m sure he will remember that.

  • Why would you even mention Stepan? He, at best, could be a 4C, but he had no legs while he was here, and now he is 33. No way Jose.

    Look at Montreal or Toronto for a young player they can no longer keep happy.

    • Creature Feature

      ” but he had no legs while he was here, and now he is 33. No way Jose.”

      Right on the money. He was slow as molasses in January when he was young, now he’s in first gear, and can’t get to second. The guy is, was, and will always be a joke.

    • Taking on Stepan’s contract was only to help facilitate the trade with AZ. It was an incentive for them to deal Chychrun and probably at a little cheaper price. One year of Stepan might be good for Lafreniere as he matures into the NHL.

        • He was a second round drat pick (51st overall). On day one (his first NHL game), he scored a hat trick. He was good for about 50 points a year, and could play in any situation (ES, PP, or PK). I wouldn’t say that he “sucked”.

          • He sucked…………And was soft as Carvel………..Was slow as hell………Was grossly overpaid……..Played with Jagr on his line, hell I would look good too……..Next????

          • I think Stepan was fine. I don’t think he’s as bad as you are making him out to be. He was a guaranteed 50 point a year center. Having said that I’m happy the Rangers were able to trade him when they did before his contract became a problem.

            Also Jagr was long gone by the time Stepan was a Ranger. He played when Nash was here.

          • Nash, I stand corrected, time flys. I still stand by my statement, HE SUCKS!!!!!!!!!

            “Having said that I’m happy the Rangers were able to trade him when they did before his contract became a problem.”

            In essence you’re agreeing with me with your remark………

          • Partially. I think he was productive when he was here, but his contract was going to be an issue so he had to go.

    • far be it for me to be the one to argue for Dave, but I don’t believe he was advocating for Stepan, just that taking him would be part of the price for getting the kid.

  • From what I’ve read, Hank’s cap hit for this year is $8.5mm. His actual salary is $5.5mm. Buying him out saves the Rangers $3mm this year, BUT he still has $5.5mm that will be added to next years Cap, NOT $1.5mm in dead cap space.

    • John

      That cash due Hank may well be only $5.5, but the cap still is $8.5 AVV, so we will carry a larger cap hit than the money due him next season!!!

  • We did not win a playoff game with the current cast of characters – so why would we be foolish enough to bring them all back? Some guys have to go to open up spots for the kids. Bye-bye RFAs!

  • A buyout is silly either trade him or eat this year salary and keep them on the team it’s dumb to have extra dead space on next years They’re not winning anything this year still have a lot to learn next year you will save a ton of money when Smith Staal and Hank are off the books Ride out the storm

    • clerks37

      And some on this site question the kids ability. He has to play next year, or get rid of DQ, who they said was a teacher, right…….Let’s see who did he develop I can’t recall?????????

      • Walt

        I hear you. Some fans are more into the skill guys, some want to see more physical players. I’m in the skill camp, as I suspect you are. But in fairness, the playoffs tend to show both are needed when the game tightens up. That’s why there was understandably so much love for Lindgren a few threads back.

        I go back and forth on Quinn. At times he seems in over his head, and is reluctant to give certain skilled players a fair opportunity. But there was a point late in the season when the team battled against two of the elite teams, Boston and St. Louis, that got me to rethink things. Both were losses, but the way we competed made me think there might be some method to his madness afterall, that he had this team on the right track. I’ll keep an open mind and see how next season unfolds, though utimately I’ll never get my mind around some of his decisions, like playing Fast on a line with Panarin, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s replaced at the point we’re ready to rock.

        • Derek Stepan could have been a scoring machine for us, except that he hit about 9,834 posts and crossbars…..

    • Kravstov
      Nils L.

      And the list goes on and on………………….Very promising outlook, but work still has to be done……..Some of us are getting a bit old and I don’t want to wait another 5 years……lol…..LGR!!!!!

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