It is never too early to think ahead. That’s especially true if you are the New York Rangers and have to get All-Star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist under contract before he decides to leave New York City for a chance to win the Stanley Cup with a true contender.
As of right now, no talk of any progress between both sides on extending Lundqvist has surfaced, and the longer this thing drags on, the more chance for speculation and panic to seep into the minds of fans.
The scary thought is if Lundqvist decides to leave the Rangers, he might choose to stay within the division. Just imagine if Lundqvist turns his back on the fans and the Rangers’ organization and signs with either the Philadelphia Flyers, the Pittsburgh Penguins, or even worse, the New York Islanders. Unfortunately for Rangers’ fans, this idea might not be as far fetched as some seem to think.
Both of those Pennsylvania teams and the Islanders have very good offenses but have very little to no goaltending help to put them over the top. The Islanders have tons of cap space and can easily afford Lundqvist. I am sure if the Rangers do not get him under contract during this upcoming season, that both the Flyers and Penguins would do all they can to make the cap room to afford him.
So the overlying question is this. If the Flyers and Penguins develop the cap space with the Islanders or any other NHL team already having the cap space and getting ready to pounce, assuming Hank does not get the deal he wants with the Rangers, what would you do if you were in Lundqvist’s shoes?
Stay with the team you supposedly love even though you get little to no goal support or go to a team that might not pay you much more or more at all but can guarantee you a legitimate shot to win a Stanley Cup?