There will be numerous questions as the pause in the NHL season lingers on. The more and more it appears that the regular season might be over, the more questions will pop up about veterans and teams that are on the outside of the playoff picture and looking in.
One such question surrounds first-ballot Hall of Famer and goaltender Henrik Lundquvist.
Rick Carpiniello of The Athletic (subscription required) took a look at what might happen as the New York Rangers make plans for next season. Will they or won’t they include Lundqvist, who spent most of this season as a third-string option?
Carpiniello notes that if the NHL regular season is over and ends up getting canceled, the New York Rangers are not a playoff team. As such, Lundqvist’s days as a Rangers’ netminder are probably over. He writes:
There is no way the Rangers want to go to training camp with three goaltenders, no way they want to drag this impossible tripod into another season. They didn’t even want it to happen this season, but the Rangers and team president John Davidson and GM Jeff Gorton really had no choice. He writes:
Noting that both Alexandar Georgiev and Igor Shesterkin outplayed Lundqivst and are the future of the Rangers goaltending situation, Lundqvist will have a couple of options.
First, he can welcome a buyout. A buyout isn’t exactly the way everyone would like to see Lundqvist leave the Rangers but, as Carpiniello notes, it “is certainly on the table.” A buyout would provide the Rangers a sizable cap savings and it would make Lundqvist an unrestricted free agent, able to sign with whatever team and in whatever role he felt suited him best.
Second, Lundqvist could agree to waive his no-move clause and accept a trade. In that case, the Rangers would eat 50% of Lundqvist’s salary and move him along, all the while, the goaltender would have control over where he goes.
The other option, not in Lundqvist’s control, would be coming back to the Rangers but that would mean New York traded either Georgiev or Shesterkin. There is a potential team out there willing to give the Rangers a first-round pick and if so, a trade could happen in the summer, opening up a backup position for Lundqvist to finish his NHL contract.
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