Arbitration opens other buyout possibilities for NY Rangers

The first buyout window in the NHL opens on September 25. For those expecting the Rangers to announce a Henrik Lundqvist buyout, you might be waiting longer than expected. The Rangers were likely not going to buyout Hank the second the window opened at 5pm, it would have been disrespectful. While many still expected him to be bought out before free agency on October 8, that may not happen either. In fact, the NY Rangers may wait until after arbitration, when the second buyout window opens.

Second Buyout Window

There is a second buyout window that the Rangers can use. That window will be around late October, whenever arbitration hearings are set to close. All the Rangers need is one player to elect to go to arbitration (or themselves elect to go to arbitration). The case doesn’t even need to actually make it there, either player or team need to just file the paperwork.

The Rangers have five arbitration eligible RFAs this season: Brendan Lemieux, Tony DeAngelo, Ryan Strome, Phil Di Giuseppe, and Alex Georgiev. Even if the Rangers are unlikely to keep all five, it is likely at least one files for arbitration. Just filing opens that second buyout window.

The Market Will Settle

There are a ton of goalies on the market. Most are free agents. Brooksie beat me to it here, but the market is likely to settle a few weeks after free agency opens. The UFAs, at least the ones teams want to sign, will likely be signed by that point. That leaves only trades open to teams that missed out. It’s unlikely Hank or Georgiev trade scenarios can compete with a UFA Braden Holtby.

There are two trade scenarios here. The first is a Hank trade, which is more beneficial to both player and team. The Rangers would get an extra $1.25 million in cap space this year and avoid a cap hit in 2021-2022. Hank wouldn’t have to go through the buyout process.

Of course, the trade market could open for Alex Georgiev as well, which would certainly be unexpected. Maybe a team, missing out on a UFA goalie, wants to overpay for a team and cost controlled goalie. Everyone wants to dismiss this, but it’s still a possibility.

Don’t expect a quick end to the Henrik Lundqvist era in New York. Arbitration will open the second buyout window for the NY Rangers, which gives them more options. This is all about kicking the can as far down the road as possible.

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  • Hank will never be traded. Look for the NYR to use the time to try to coax Hank into retirement instead. If that does not work, then they will buy him out.
    Much depends on Hank himself. If he still thinks he has a year or two left, he will not retire.

  • I don’t disagree that they may wait to buy him out, but what team will be in need of his services that will be competitive? The answer is few if any.

    Toronto maybe if they trade Andersson and don’t replace him. They can’t afford half of Hanks cap hit, even if they trade Andersson. Boston maybe if they trade Rask, a big if. In the metro maybe Carolina, but I can’t see that happening. Out west Colorado would be the most likely fit, but I can’t see them doing a deal like this. Minnesota? Who knows what they are doing. Edmonton but again limited on cap space. Calgary? are they rebuilding or retooling?

    I go through these instances because there is no team that would be competing for the cup next year that needs Hank as their #1 goalie. He would not be a starter on most, if not all of these teams. There is no team that needs to take a $4.250 mill cap hit for those services, especially with the flat cap. Any team even thinking about it will just wait for us to buy him out and offer him a low ball price. Whether that be in the first window or the second window. There’s simply no FOMO going on in the goalie market. And there isn’t going to be during the second window.

    The only two chances I see of him being traded are 1. we send him and pick 22 to Colorado(No salary retained) and he plays there or they buy him out or 2. we send him to say Ottawa and retain half his salary, then Ottawa sends him to say Detroit and they retain half his salary then Detroit trades him to Colorado, again with half retained salary. That would reduce his cap hit to about $1mill. And you have to give something to everyone for the favor.

    It’s a tough situation. For the record I would his contract out. But it’s not my decision

    • Excellent reply except that Hank has a NMC and must agree to any trade situation. I doubt he would agree to be passed around like a hot potato. Thus, your point, buyout is the only option, since he will not retire.

  • A lot of wishful thinking. There’s no real market for Hank and the very few teams that might actually “need” him aren’t the ones he would want to play for (assuming the goal is to compete for the SC). Anything could happen but the odds that he’s traded or retires are pretty slim. I say bite the bullet and buy him out. Not the optimal solution to the problem but still an acceptable outcome that saves us cap space.

  • These would be the moves l would make if l were the New York Rangers GM:
    1. Make offers to all the RFAs that l know they’d turn down, so when other teams make offers to the RFAs, I’d get draft picks in return. The only RFA l’d Franchise-Tag is BRENDAN LEMIEUX.
    2. Buy out Marc Staal and acquire UFA JOE FINLEY to take Staal’s spot.
    3. Keep Henrik Lundqvist, yet trade Georgiev to a team that needs a #1 goalie such as Detroit, San Jose, and yes, even New Jersey for a package deal that can fill the Rangers’ needs
    4. Sign Henrik’s twin brother JOEL LUNDQVIST to be the #2 center (though l’m excited to see how Patrick Khodorenko will do as a potential #3 center). Hey, when Henrik and Joel play together, they win championships.
    5. Draft Alexis Lafreniere
    These would be my top 5 moves if l were the Rangers GM. Thanks for your time and God Bless you.

    • Sorry Joseph you lost me when you suggested the Rangers sign Joel Lundqvist. He was a marginal NHL player in his prime and now he is over the hill like brother Henk.

      I am with you on Lemieux though, as I like the energy he brings to his game.

      Staal buyout not opposed to that ideal either, as I have him on my defence depth chart behind Smitty and Libor. The old war horse should be put out to pasture. It’s the humane thing to do.

    • There is no such thing as a franchise tag under the CBA.

      The play for arbitration eligible players is to offer a bonus heavy 1 year deal that is below the walk away number, then when the arbitrator awards above the walk away number, walk away and hope that the player takes the deal in this environment considering the future value of money.

      After the signing bonus is paid out, then they can deal that player to a team that is Covid cash flow constrained for picks and/or prospects.

  • Dave, that’s funny, Brooksie beat you to it, it seems a lot of your articles lately have been on subjects Brooks has written about before you. A little writers block in your basement?

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