According to New York Rangers and NHL Hall-of-Famer Rod Gibert on his official twitter account, the Rangers’ star player and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is back in New York City after enjoying his offseason in his home country of Sweden.
With Hank now back in the states, contract negotiations should start back up momentarily. However, I highly doubt that a deal would be finalized until after the Rangers get center Derek Stepan under contract, as he is a restricted free agent in this 2013-14 season coming up in less than two months.
These are some rather tense times for Rangers fans, and I am one of them. I am fairly certain the Rangers will sign Stepan (even though you can never be too sure with Rangers GM Glen Sather), but I still worry about Lundqvist.
We all know Lundqvist loves playing for the Rangers and in New York City, but is it enough for him to want to stay?
I say yes it will, but I think you can toss out the possibility of Lundqvist signing a long-term deal with the Blueshirts. In an interview on August 14 in Sweden, he expressed his love for the Rangers and New York City and said he can’t imagine playing anywhere else, but at the same exact time, he also said that he is unsure of a long-term deal.
So no matter how much Lundqvist loves his current team and the city of New York, it is quite clear that he is a competitor and wants to win more than anything. If the Rangers don’t give him that opportunity to win a Stanley Cup in the near future, he will choose to go elsewhere.
As for right now, I do think Rangers fans should not panic completely, since he is unlikely going to walk after this season when he becomes an unrestricted free agent. He will sign maybe a four-year instead of an eight-year deal like what a lot of people originally thought.
But that is just one man’s opinion. So if you’re a Rangers fan, just keep your eyes and ears open and hope for the best, which is for the Rangers to sign Stepan and then Lundqvist before this season starts.