New York Rangers rumors: If Henrik Lundqvist opts to retire, this is how it will go down

Is this the end for Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers? Before COVID-19 hit the World, there was some talk of a potential buyout or trade for The King. Today, I don’t think a buyout of Lundqvist is where the organization wants to go, as it will only save them around $3 million on his $8.5 million deal. A buyout of Brendan Smith or Marc Staal is more likely.

While a trade could be figured out, the flat cap makes it difficult. Other contenders may not be able to find a way to fit in Hank even if the Rangers were to eat half his salary.

Henrik Lundqvist hints at his future

The notion of Henrik retiring wasn’t even a consideration before these playoffs. Matter of fact, this is what Lundqvist told Swedish reporter, Johan Rylander during the pause in May.

“It’s clear that I’m thinking about how much I love hockey and how long I think I can continue, or even want to continue. I also realized that I can’t look that far ahead.” Lundqvist then finished his interview by leaving a question of his own. “Now we are ready to run this summer and this season. I also know that in November and December last year, when I was at my best, I played as well as I did several years before. It was incredibly fun. If I can I find a situation where I play and deliver like that – why not continue?”

Henrik Lundqvist rumors
Henrik Lundqvist and Johan Rylander discuss future (ctsy Johan Rylander)

Here’s the problem with continuing for the 38 year-old tender, the next NHL season is going to start almost four months from now. That’s a lot of time off for a goalie who fought hard to play a hopeful long playoff run. Think about it, just two games in an 8 month span? Not optimal for an aging goaltender.

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Henrik Lundqvist retirement rumors

Here’s what I know, the SHL season will start before the NHL’s. During the pause, Lundqvist spent a lot of time in Sweden with his brother Joel at Frolunda’s training facility. Sources based in Sweden told me that Henrik Lundqvist may very well retire and join his brother for one season with Frolunda. After that, he could make an NHL comeback for the Cup with a contender at 40.

I first wrote about this on Wednesday morning. Surprisingly, and giving further credence to what I found out, Larry Brooks wrote up the exact same scenario that afternoon. The only real difference being that he did not mention Hank’s plan to make an NHL comeback at 40.

A Lundqvist retirement will be a final gift to a franchise he’s given so much to. Should he do so, the Rangers will regain the full $8.5 million. Don’t get it wrong, Henrik wanted to finish his contract here, but the fallout from the pandemic may have changed his plans.

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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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