Much has been made in recent months about a potential long term deal for New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. The star goaltender’s future with the franchise was somewhat up in the air when John Tortorella was still behind the bench, but with a new boss back there, he sounds like he’s interested in remaining on Broadway for the long haul.
There’s no doubt that the Rangers currently employ one of the best goaltenders in the league. Though he got off to a slow start last season, he picked up his play as the 2013 campaign wore on, and helped the Blueshirts shake off their unexpectedly slow start en route to grabbing a playoff spot.
In the playoffs, he was a prime reason that the Rangers were able to advance as far as they did. In fact, it was one of the better postseason performances in recent memory for the veteran. He posted a 2.14 goals against average and .934 save percentage, including a pair of shutouts.
Set to become a free agent next summer, there’s no doubt that the Rangers want to lock him up long term. But while he’s among the very best netminders in the game, he’s also on the bad side of 30 years old. He’s only 31, but when you’re talking about a long term deal for a goaltender in this league, you’re talking about the rest of Hank’s career at this point.
The Rangers are potentially looking at something like an eight or nine-year deal for Lundqvist, perhaps even longer. Being in the market that they are, money isn’t the issue. It’s the years. Do they want to pay him big money until he’s 39 or 40? For any goaltender, that’s a major question, even when you’re talking about one of the league’s best.
If the Blueshirt brass plans to lock him up that long, they’re taking a risk. He has a couple of years left as the elite level we’ve seen him at for the past few seasons, there’s little doubt about that. But when he starts to show his age, there’s no knowing what the decline will look like. That would make signing him to a long term deal something of a risk for New York.