New York Rangers fans, your long nightmare is over! Henrik Lundqvist, the “King”, the Franchise, the whatever you want to call him, will be a Ranger for life. He signed a seven-year, $59 million contract extension, averaging $8.5 million per year. This puts to rest the ridiculous idea that the Rangers have a goaltending controversy and reaffirms the team’s commitment to their franchise player. Not only does it make sense for all parties involved, but it will benefit the Rangers in the short and long run.
Yes, Lundqvist will become the highest-paid goaltender in league history. Yes, it is arguable that seven years is too long for a man that will be 32 when his new contract commences. In reality, these are the only two major issues with the deal. Here’s why it is beneficial to the Rangers.
Lundqvist left money on the table in order to stay, thereby proving he never wanted to leave New York. Secondly, he did not get the eight-year maximum that impending free agents remaining with their own teams are entitled to. It saves the Rangers an $8.5 million salary cap hit when Lundqvist turns 40. Who knows how serviceable he will be then?
Finally, the NHL‘s new television contract with Canadian broadcaster Rogers will exponentially increase the league’s hockey-related revenue, thus allowing the salary cap to increase year after year. Lundqvist’s cap hit will not cripple the Rangers financially, and a potential cap increase from $64 million to $70 million in 2014-15 will allow General Manager Glen Sather flexibility to make additional signings or trades. This season, Lundqvist’s cap hit is $6.875 million. His new deal only increases hit annual cap hit by $1.625 million. From a financial standpoint it makes sense for both sides.
Although Lundqvist has not led the Rangers to a Stanley Cup, keeping him around for another seven years gives the Rangers a chance. He deserves his new deal, and the Rangers organization did the right thing by giving it to him. He is the franchise’s most important player of the last decade, and now he will be able to stay in New York up until 2021.