NHL Buyout window opens on September 25th, will the Rangers use it?
The NHL buyout window is set for September 25th and will run through October 8th. That is the day before free agency starts. It is expected that several teams will use the buyout option thanks to a flat cap of $81.5 million. On top of that, many teams will also be using an internal cap of $70 million, making this a wild offseason to predict.
New York Rangers high dead cap space
When it comes to the New York Rangers, they have one player on the roster that needs to be sorted out. Henrik Lundqvist is 38 years-old and has one year left at $8.5 million. If the Rangers opt to buy him out, they will have to eat $5.5 million on the cap, but gain a crucial $3 million is space.
Currently, the Rangers will head into next season carrying $7.494 million in dead cap space thanks to Kevin Shattenkirk ($6M) and Dan Girardi ($1.1M) buyouts. They have also $300,000 in salary retention on Ryan Spooner. If they buyout Hank that will be over $12 million in dead cap. In the 2021-22 season it will drop to just $4 million.
Henrik Lundqvist believes he is being bought out
It was revealed in a recent Czech interview by Libor Hajek that Lundqvist told the team this could be his last game with the Rangers. “He said he didn’t know what would happen to him if the Rangers bought him out or went somewhere else,” Hajek said.
News of this article spread quickly, and yesterday I went back to look for more information and found the quote removed. I reached out to the reporter that conducted the interview as to why, and received no response.
Will the Rangers use a buyout?
Now the question is, will the Rangers use it? Here’s how I see it going down. On September 25th, it is highly unlikely the Rangers would buyout Lundqvist because it also game four of the Stanley Cup Finals.
The NHL really doesn’t like it when teams take focus away from big events like that. Of course, that’s not the only reason because I anticipate they will try hard to trade him. They will work closely with Henrik and his agent almost all the way up to the draft on October 6th.
I believe the Rangers will eat the maximum of 50% of his deal in hopes a contender is willing to pay Henrik the remaining $4.25M. The problem is this is a flooded goalie market with plenty of options.
It will then fall on Lundqvist to decide if he wants to be bought out and take his chances on the market. There he will likely be presented with a few one year at $1 or $2 million offers as a backup. Will he want that? That’s why Henrik could still opt to retire and forego the remaining salary. If he doesn’t, he will be bought out.
I’m sure the Rangers will immediately offer him a role with the organization as an ambassador, but he will no longer be the starter. One thing for sure, he will always be a Broadway Legend. His jersey will be raised to the rafters late next season if he retires and fans can be in the stands.