Henrik Lundqvist could be a compliance buyout

Henrik Lundqvist’s run with the New York Rangers could end with a compliance buyout if the NHL and NHLPA allows them this offseason. There has been plenty of speculation that due to the lost revenue the salary cap may not rise to $84M and stay stagnant at $81.5M. That would put a tremendous strain on the Rangers and their ability to re-sign all their RFA’s.

Compliance Buyouts

A compliance buyout is basically debt forgiveness by the league. It will allow a team to buyout a contract with zero cap penalties. In a recent article on Sportsnet by Luke Fox he noted that the last time the NHL allowed two compliance buyouts after 2012-13 lockout, 28 players were bought out. The Rangers used theirs on Wade Redden in 2013 and Brad Richards in the summer of 2014. Fox also speculated on who he believes would be a candidate for one and Henrik Lundqvist was mentioned.

This one is more about carving out space than saving money. When the virus hit pause on the 2019-20 campaign, the Rangers were surging out of their rebuild while awkwardly carrying three NHL-calibre goaltenders. An affordable young duo of Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev could set the Blueshirts’ crease up well for years to come. Buying out the King would bring an unceremonious — and potentially friction-sparking — end to a Hall of Fame career, but it could also be coldly chalked up to the business of sport.

Luke Fox, Sportsnet
Shesterkin and Lundqvist (Sarah Stier/USA Today Sports, via Reuters)

Buying out the King

What should be noted is that the speculation of an outright Lundqvist buyout has already been written by the likes of Larry Brooks and others. The savings would only be $3M off his current $8.5M leaving the Rangers with $5.5M in dead cap space next season and a penalty of $1.5M off the their cap in 2021-22.

Should the NHL and NHLPA agree, the Rangers would not need to hem and haw over trying to get Lundqvist to waive his no move clause for a trade. That would only save a max of $4.25M with 50% salary retention. Or struggle over the possibility that Lundqvist would decide to retire and thus save them the full $8.5M. As of now, word out of Lundqvist’s camp is he has no intention to hang his skates up a year early and forego the $5M coming to him. Not to mention, he doesn’t feel like he’s done as a competitive player.

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Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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