Nils Lundkvist tells Swedish paper he saw no ‘way forward’ with New York Rangers

Nils Lundkvist asked the New York Rangers for a trade last January when he was sent down. The 22 year-old defenseman then opted to try and expedite that request by informing the team he wouldn’t be attending training camp.

On Monday night, GM Chris Drury was able to get a nice return from Dallas Stars counterpart Jim Nill. In exchange, the Rangers receive a conditional first round selection in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft and a conditional fourth round selection in the 2025 NHL Entry Draft.

The conditions per the New York Rangers press release are as follows:

  • If the Stars pick in the 2023 draft is in the top 10, the Rangers will get Dallas’ own first round pick in the 2024 draft instead and the pick will be unprotected.
  • If Lundkvist produces 55 points cumulative over the 2022-23 and 2023-24 seasons, Dallas will transfer its own third-round pick in 2025 instead of the fourth-round pick in 2025.

“They called me in the middle of the night and told me,” Lundkvist revealed to Norrländska Socialdemokraten. “After that the phone rang all at once.”

Nils Lundkvist didn’t see a path forward

nils lundkvist
Dec 3, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Nils Lundkvist (27) plays the puck against the San Jose Sharks during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Lundkvist played in 25 games last season and was able to register 4 points before being unexpectedly sent down on January 11th. His replacement was 2020 first-round pick Braden Schneider, who has since cemented his spot in the lineup with his physical play.

Ahead of Schneider are captain Jacob Trouba, and Norris Trophy winner Adam Fox. Considering the trio in front of him on right defense, the likelihood of beating them out was a steep uphill climb.

“I understand that you have to fight your way up, but I couldn’t really see a way forward for me,” Lundkvist said. “So a trade felt like the best solution.”

Of course, Nils was aware of the backlash he would receive once that information got out in the open. He wanted to make clear that he loved the organization and the decision was solely about finding a better career path.

Still, many dubbed him selfish and not working hard to earn a spot.

“That’s not how I want to appear,” he said. “People can of course believe what they want. But those who know me know that I am not like that.”

The Dallas Stars were looking for a future top four right defenseman to replace John Klingberg and Lundkvist certainly fit the bill.

“Nils is a skilled, right-handed shot defenseman that adjusted to the North American game this past season and has a high ceiling,” said Nill. “We felt that adding a creative player like Nils to our defensive group was necessary, and he has a tremendous opportunity to establish himself as an everyday, impact defenseman at the NHL level.”

Stars GM Jim Nill, NHL.com

Now, he’s off to Texas where he hopes to get there quickly for training camp.

“There hasn’t been much sleep for me and now I’m busy making arrangements to get over there,” Lundkvist explained. “But I’m glad everything worked out. I know I will have to perform to get a Dallas Stars jersey, but they seem to have a lot of faith in me.”

Note: HockeySverige.se also used as reference

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