Not long ago, the New York Rangers made their official announcement that the final year remaining on Henrik Lundqvist’s contract would be bought out.
Henrik was expected to make $8.5 million for the 2020-21 season, and will now get ⅔ of his remaining contract, paid out for the next 2 years. Just days after a trade that sent another long-time Ranger Marc Staal – and his $5.7 million contract – to Detroit, one of the final players from the Rangers’ 2014 run to the Stanley Cup Final is gone.
Chosen 205th overall in the 2000 NHL Draft, Henrik Lundqvist tremendously exceeded expectations in his 15-year tenure. He’s set over a dozen NHL records, including the most consecutive 30-win seasons to start an NHL career with 7 (spanning from 2005-2012) and most 30-win seasons in the first 10 seasons of an NHL career with 9 (from 2005-2015).
Lundqvist remains tied with Hall-of-Famers Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy with 6 Game 7 wins in a playoff series, all 6 of them coming consecutively (another record). In fact, the very best of Henrik Lundqvist came out in Game 7’s, as he has posted a 1.11 GAA and a .961 save percentage. Appearing in the playoffs for 11 of his 15 seasons, Lundqvist has reached the Conference Final three times and the Stanley Cup Final once. He is a three-time Vezina Trophy finalist and a one-time winner.
We also got to see the King win it all with Sweden in the 2017 IIHF Men’s World Championships, where he pitched a 42-save shutout to win gold against Canada.
Lundqvist may very well go down as the greatest Ranger of all time and without a doubt the greatest Ranger’s goaltender of all time. In 887 career games with the Blueshirts, he leads the franchise in career wins (459), shutouts (64), and save percentage (.918).
What comes next is unknown. The Rangers now carry two goaltenders in Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev. Shesterkin has solidified himself as the starter, and the Lundqvist buyout adds some room to sign Georgiev – a restricted free agent – to a small deal. The salary cap consequences for the buyout are as follows: $5.5 million against the Rangers’ salary cap in 2020-21 and for $1.5 million against the cap in 2021-22.
The Rangers now have about $23 million in cap space for the 2020-21 season. They have room to make some big moves in free agency and add some strength needed on the left side of their defense and down the middle.
Though it’s a bittersweet ending to his career, Henrik Lundqvist will without a doubt go down as one of the greatest Rangers of all time.
He will always be ‘The King of New York.’
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