Rick Carpinello of The Athletic (subscription required) writes that the New York Rangers are going to have to make a difficult decision when it comes to their three-headed goaltending monster.
Ideally, it would be best for the organization and their other goaltenders if Henrik Lundqvust chose to retire in a Rangers uniform, but do so this offseason. That said, the chances of the veteran backstop walking away from $5.5 million as a payable salary (cap hit is $8.5) is unlikely. And, because Lundqvist has a full no-movement clause in his contract, the Rangers can’t force him to.
Lundqvist hasn’t discussed his plans yet. If and when he does, it could change plans, but as of now, the Rangers look like they’re going to have to bit a significant financial bullet.
Because Rangers GM Jeff Gorton and team President John Davidson publicly stated the team will not go into the 2020-21 seasons with three netminders, in short, if Lundqvist doesn’t retire, he’s going to have to be bought out. Davidson said he spoke with Lundqvist about it and that the two sides will continue to have dialogue if needed.
Caprinello writes that this scenario poses challenges. He explains:
Expect the Rangers to save $3 million off Lundqvist’s $8.5 million with a buyout that will carry $5.5 million of dead cap space next season and another $1.5 million cap hit in 2021-22.
This is bad enough, but when you add the fact the team already has $6.083 million of dead cap space because they bought out Kevin Shattenkirk buyout last summer, and $1.111 million left on the Dan Girardi buyout, that’s just under $13 million of dead space for next season.
And, with the Rangers having already committed $68.03 million (give or take because of bonuses or roster moves) when you factor in that restricted free agents Ryan Strome, Aleksander Georgiev, Tony DeAngelo, Brendan Lemieux and Phil Di Giuseppe are all unsigned, Lundqvists $3 million becomes important. Add that the Rangers have unrestricted free agents like Jesper Fast and Greg McKegg they’d like to sign and that $3 million becomes critical.
This is, of course, not suggest that he’s $3 million in savings even comes close to solving all of the Rangers problems.
There’s No Market For Georgiev
One of the problems is that there’s apparently little to market for Alexandre Georgiev. The Rangers could keep Igor Shesterkin as their No. 1 and Lundqvist as their No. 2, moving Georgiev. But, that requires a taker, and so far, there hasn’t been one.
Could The Rangers Do Something Drastic?
There is a possible way that the Rangers could clear a lot of money off of their books in a hurry if they feel as though they’re really in a pinch. But, it’s not an ideal way to go.
If the Rangers decided to shop the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft (which they won because of the lottery), there would be a number of teams willing to take on bloated salaries for the right to draft Alexis Lafreniere. In one foul swoop, the Rangers could get some useful pieces back and remove a ton of money.
Again, that would all depend on whether or not Lundqvist would agree to move. And, if Lundvist won’t go, are there other contracts the Rangers could dump in a large-scale trade? Maybe.
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