Don’t expect Henrik Lundqvist to be bought out today
The NHL buyout period starts today at 5PM EST. While Henrik Lundqvist’s name is at the very top of every site’s buyout list, it does not mean the New York Rangers will be executing it at 5:01PM.
The Rangers have time
The first buyout window closes on October 8th, right before the NHL rings the bell on Free Agency on the 9th. Some key dates to also be aware of is the NHL Draft on the 6th and qualifying offers to RFA’s need to be in by the 7th.
When you look at that timetable, the Blueshirts could wait almost all the way up until the 8th to buy Henrik out. In the meantime, they can continue to work on the trade front.
Can the Rangers trade Lundqvist
So as of right now, the Rangers have “$14 million” and need to sign seven to eight players to reach a roster of 22/23 players. Four of those players are RFA’s Tony DeAngelo, Ryan Strome, Brendan Lemieux, and Alexandar Georgiev. If the Rangers wanted to keep all four it would eat up a chunk of the cap space and leave them struggling to fill the remaining spots. Also, you need a cushion for those pesky performance bonuses.
As one team source told me, they can’t keep all the RFAs with where they are cap wise. That’s why they need to find more cap space, especially if they want to improve. And if you think buying out Henrik Lundqvist alone will get that done, you would be wrong.
A Lundqvist buyout only saves $3 million on the cap with a $5.5 million hit. A trade at 50% retention is $4.25 million. And if Gorton could pull off what the Leafs did with Marleau and trade him to another team for the purpose of a buyout, the Rangers get all $8.5 million.
I also heard in the rumor mill that there is a least one team willing to trade for him. Now whether that’s a deal where they retain 50% of his cap hit, or the creative trade to Ottawa to let him be bought out there, remains to be seen. Remember, Henrik needs to waive his no trade clause.
That’s what I expect the Rangers to do first before buying him at, around the draft. So if you think Hank is bought out to today, it’s probably unlikely to happen.