All right, I know this is radical, crazy and maybe insane of me to think. But let’s put all the cards on the table and review what we know about Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers.
First off Lundqvist is an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. Both the Rangers and Lundqvist have stated that they will not discuss the terms of a new contract until the season is over. They don’t want the negotiations to be a distraction for the team. Lundqvist will turn 32 in March and will be looking to cash in with what will most likely be his last contract ever in the NHL.
Now once again, let me just state that I love Lundqvist. He was a part of the youth movement that helped bring the Rangers back to a competitive level. He has been the Rangers starter since 2005. Now lets dive a little deeper into some stats here. The Rangers have made the playoffs in eight of the nine years Lundqvist has been the starter. Out of those eight playoffs appearances the Rangers have made the Stanley Cup Finals zero times, the Conference Finals once, the Conference Semifinals four times, and they have lost in the first round three times. I will never blame one player for losing a game or not playing well but the Rangers haven’t taken that next step with Lundqvist as their goalie.
Everyone loves to say that the Rangers would be much better if they had a better team in front of Lundqvist. I agree with this statement 100 percent. But in todays NHL, how many teams give goalies max deals for 10 years? In order to put a good team on the ice are you really willing to hammer up that much cap space on a goalie? This is where the insane idea comes into my mind: trade Lundqvist now.
First off, why should the Rangers risk let him walk? They have Cam Talbot waiting in the wings who has no NHL experience. Second off there are plenty of teams who think that if they get a great goalie they could make that step to become an elite team or even a playoff team. The Rangers should honestly consider trading Lundqvist to a team that has a surplus of young talent. They could acquire a goalie that is not great but a solid starter in the league. Then they could acquire some fast, creative, and young players who will fit in with the scheme Alain Vigneault is trying to implement for this team. For anyone who has watched the Rangers play so far this season it is clear that the Rangers are just a slow team. It is no ones fault because that’s the way they were built. John Tortorella had gone through the process of getting players he wanted that fit his system for the first two to three years he was coaching the Rangers. We all saw this manifest in 2011-12 when the Rangers made the Conference Finals as the in your face, grind it out team. Vigneault loves skill guys who are fast and creative. Why not speed up this process by getting those players as soon as possible?
It is very unlikely that the Rangers trade Lundqvist. I am almost willing to bet my house that they will resign him to a 7 or eight-year contract this summer. But I’m just saying trading Lundqvist is an option that the Rangers should really consider if they want to take that next step and finally reach the Stanley Cup Finals and win a cup.