It would seem to be common sense that the NY Rangers would prefer to trade Henrik Lundqvist, as opposed to buying him out. It is better financially for the Rangers, and probably better for Lundqvist’s legacy. I’ve had to come to terms with Lundqvist on another team next year, so let’s look into where Hank could land if traded.
*-Disclaimer: Lundqvist has a no-move clause. He will need to approve a trade.
Hank At Full Salary
Hank at 50% Retained
This is the scenario. Lundqvist at 50% retained carries a $4.25 million cap hit and $2.275 million in actual salary (his bonus was paid already). There are two types of teams that are interested in Lundqvist at this price point. The playoff contenders with questionable goaltending, and the internal cap teams.
San Jose Sharks
There are irresponsible rumors abound that the Sharks are likely to buyout goalie Martin Jones. Aaron Dell is also a UFA. That means the Sharks, who consider themselves a contender for the moment, need goalies.
Lundqvist would get to play with countryman Erik Karlsson, which may be a reason for him to waive his no move. The Sharks may be a borderline contender, but given their roster holes and salary committed, they likely aren’t true contenders. If Hank is prioritizing a Cup, he might pass, despite Karlsson.
Toronto Maple Leafs
This is a weird one. The Leafs already have Frederik Andersen, but are rumored to be looking to improve upon him. This means they need to find a trade partner or buy him out, then trade for Hank. That seems improbable.
The Leafs are a legitimate contender. William Nylander has won with Lundqvist before. He almost killed him in the process, but they won together. Is that enough to waive the no move?
This is the true wild card. Rumors are the Wild are looking to part ways with Devan Dubnyk. They are a borderline playoff team. This isn’t really the destination for Hank if he wants to win a Cup.
However the Wild have Mats Zuccarello. it’s hard to decipher what Minnesota is doing this offseason, especially with that Staal/Johansson swap.
Even as the goalie market settles, it’s hard to find a trade partner for the Rangers right now. The landscape may change soon, or even after free agency begins. The Rangers might kick the can to the second buyout window. But in reality, is a Henrik Lundqvist trade really an option?