Henrik Lundqvist has been bought out by the New York Rangers
With that, Lundqvist’s storied tenure with the Rangers has come to an end. He has posted a 459-310-96 record, 2.43 GAA, and .918 save percentage in 887 games – all with New York. For much of his career, Lundqvist was one of the league’s best goaltenders. He won the Vezina Trophy in 2012 and finished in the top-three of Vezina voting on five occasions. He ranks eighth all-time in games played by a netminder and sixth in wins. A buyout isn’t how anyone would have liked to see his time with the Rangers end, but the alternative would have been to enter the season with three goaltenders, including Alexandar Georgiev and Igor Shesterkin. So the Rangers’ made the right decision here, even if it’s a tough pill to swallow. “Few players have been as important to the Rangers franchise as Henrik Lundqvist, and we are incredibly grateful for all he has done for our organization,” said James L. Dolan, Executive Chairman, MSG Sports. The Rangers’ cap burden on Lundqvist for the 2020-21 campaign will drop from $8.5 million to $5.5 million, but this buyout also gives them a $1.5 million cap penalty for 2021-22
The New York Rangers bought out the final season of Lundqvist’s contract, making him an unrestricted free agent. Lundqvist’s agent, Don Meehan, said that his client’s future was “to be determined” though, so it seems the future Hall of Famer is still weighing his options. If he wants to keep playing, Washington is a potential fit. He could provide the team with a veteran backup to compliment Ilya Samsonov and also serve as the 23-year-old netminder’s mentor. Washington does have Pheonix Copley signed to a three-year, $3.3 million contract, but Copley spent the first campaign of that contract in the AHL and only has 29 games worth of NHL experience, so he’s far from an ideal choice to serve as Samsonov’s understudy. Samsonov has nearly as much experience as Copley after playing in 26 contests last season. Vitek Vanecek is another in-house option to serve as the backup goaltender and there’s a good chance he’d make the team over Copley, but Vanecek doesn’t have any NHL experience. While Lundqvist isn’t the goaltender he used to be, he does have 887 regular season games on his resume and another 130 playoff contests.