Hard Truth: A trade is what’s best for Lundqvist and the Rangers
1. Henrik Lundqvist is still an elite goaltender.
2. The Rangers are going to struggle this season despite that fact.
These are just two hard truths that can’t be ignored and should be addressed with the aging netminder soon.
Through 2 games this season, Henrik Lundqvist is sporting a stellar .933 save percentage and a 2.06 goals against average. These numbers are outstanding despite facing an average of 30 shots per game and 15 high danger chances.
The simple fact here is that David Quinn’s young Rangers are going to struggle and no matter how well Lundqvist plays he can’t change that. That is why I believe it would be best for both The King and the Blueshirts to part ways this season.
He Deserves a Stanley Cup
His legacy in Rangers blue is unquestionable. Perhaps one of the greatest homegrown Rangers of all time, Lundqvist’s career only lacks a Stanley Cup. Sadly, it is unlikely the Rangers will challenge for one by the time he hangs the skates up.
The King will turn 37 years old on March 2nd and has 2 years remaining on his contract. His cap hit is heavy at $8.5M but anyone who trades for him will only pay him $7M next year and $5.5M in the final year of his contract. If the Rangers are willing to eat some of his salary to reduce the cap hit, more contending teams will enter the market for his services.
Lundqvist has made it very clear that he wants to be a Ranger for his whole career and that is beyond admirable. However, what the organization needs are young, offensively talented stars to lead the team for the next decade. And regardless if he or his biggest supporters feel he doesn’t need to add a Cup to have his name mentioned with the all time great goalies, they are wrong.
Dominik Hasek was a great and acrobatic goalie who took his Sabres to the Cup finals in 1999, but lost to Brett Hull and the Dallas Stars. In 2001, Hasek was traded to the Detroit Red Wings and became the first European born goaltender to win the Stanley Cup at the age of 37. The Dominator, upon raising the Cup solidified himself as one of the greatest to ever play net in the NHL.
It is time for Lundqvist to take that path.
Winning A Cup Matters
Eddie Giacomin may have been one of the greatest goalies of the 60’s and 70’s. He never won the Stanley Cup and is rarely talked about outside Ranger circles in the great goalies debate. Instead names like Johnny Bower, Gump Worsley, Gerry Cheevers, and Ken Dryden overshadow the brilliant Giacomin.
Look at another Ranger, albeit a brief stint, Mike Gartner has over 708 NHL goals but isn’t mentioned nearly as much as the likes of Mark Messier (694), Brett Hull (741), and Jaromir Jagr (766), and Phil Esposito (717). Why? Could it possibly be that missing Cup? Let’s try this one on for size…
Did you know that Marcel Dionne had 731 career NHL goals? Maybe some of you did, but I assure you many younger fans probably did not.
Henrik Lundqvist deserves that glory and feeling of lifting hockey’s holy grail over his head. There’s only one way for him to do it now, and that is asking for a trade out of New York.
Toronto…A Perfect Destination
The Maple Leafs are very good this year. Auston Matthews is going to be one of this generations all-time great forwards. They are loaded from top to bottom and added John Tavares for good measure.
Their one weak spot – goaltender. In goal, Frederik Andersen is serviceable but is not going to get them by teams like the Washington Capitals or Pittsburgh Penguins in the playoffs. Now just imagine what they could do with a goaltender like Henrik Lundqvist.
Currently, 22 year old, William Nylander is holding out for a big pay day. The Maple Leafs who face cap concerns are not willing to give him the $6+ for 7 years he’s looking for. In one swift instance the fate of both franchises could change with a deal sending The King to Toronto for Nylander.
The Rangers would have an elite #1 center/winger for the next 10 years and the Leafs could possibly end their 50 year Stanley Cup drought. It would be a bold move for both franchises and one that would be best for Henrik Lundqvist most of all.
Lundqvist’s biological Cup clock is ticking. At some point both he and Jeff Gorton should sit down and talk about what’s best for everyone.