A sight that many a New York Rangers fan did not want to see has come true within the last few days. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, perhaps the most iconic player to don the red, white, and blue colors of New York, was bought out by the club, as the team prepares to move into a new era with fresher, younger talent.
Lundqvist had owned the crease since the 2005-06 season. “The King” appeared in 887 career games with the Rangers over 15 seasons, posting a 459-310-96 record, along with a 2.43 GAA, a .918 save percentage, and 63 shutouts. Some of Lundqvist’s team and NHL records include:
- New York Rangers club record, games played, single season: 73 (2009–10 season)
- The Rangers all-time leader in shutouts (regular season and playoffs combined)
- Most wins (449) by a New York Rangers goaltender
- Fastest goaltender to record 400 wins in NHL History
- Most shutouts by a New York Rangers goaltender (63)
- Most Playoffs wins by a New York Rangers goaltender (61)
- Consecutive Game 7 wins (6)
The list can go on. But now, at 38, Lundqvist will leave the only NHL club he’s ever known for a new challenge. Will he continue to play in the NHL? Will he return to his home country for one last ride there? Or call it a career and enjoy the fruits of retirement?
Maybe, just maybe, Henrik could join his longtime division rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and mentor the presumed heir to Pittsburgh’s crease, Tristan Jarry.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. You read the headline, the subhead, and made it this far thinking: “This is ridiculous, and there's no way this would ever happen. This guy is nuts.” And to that I say, you’re probably 99.9% right. I do have a few screws loose. Which is why I’m proposing this idea.
For all the talk of a potential Marc-Andre Fleury reunion, the Vegas Golden Knights would still have to buyout Fleury, which they have not done yet. Fleury is also three years younger than Lundqvist, and presumably, isn’t ready to take on a fully-fledged backup role. Career-wise, Lundqvist does have a better save percentage and goals against average (.918 and 2.43) to Fleury’s career mark of .912/2.58.
The Åre, Sweden native may not want to be the backup either, but for the sake of this idea, he’s willing to entertain the idea of playing second fiddle. Doing so would allow the older Lundqvist to not have to bear the load of a starter’s schedule thanks to Jarry, but can still be effectively relied upon in net.
So, the wheels are starting to turn in your head. You’re thinking: “Okay, okay, bringing in Lundqvist for one year doesn't sound that bad. But how much money would he want?” Maybe the biggest issue revolves around Lundqvist’s potential salary if he were to come here. Lundqvist would have to forego the $8.5 million he was set to make from the Rangers in 2020-21 and take a rather substantial pay cut.
Lundqvist will receive $1.5 million from the Rangers due to his buyout, and has almost $100 million career earnings.
Would Henrik be willing to take a lower salary to join a team like the Penguins who are in win-now mode? Remember, the King has never captured the almighty prize—Lord Stanley’s Cup. It’s the only award left missing on his illustrious resume.
All of this is obvious speculation. And if reality is any indication, Lundqvist will probably ask for more money and a larger role than the Pens are willing to give him.
But if nothing else, it’s always fun to entertain the idea of seeing one of the greatest goalies ever switch from the bright lights of the Big Apple to the scenery of the Steel City.
Would you like to see Henrik Lundqvist join the Pittsburgh Penguins?
This poll is closed
Yes, I’d be fine with a 1-year deal as a backup.
No, spend the money elsewhere.