Yesterday the New York Rangers announced the long awaited signing of 2018 first round pick, Nils Lundkvist. The 20 year-old defenseman has had an amazing SHL career and is ready to make the transition to the NHL.
What needs to be clearly stated is that it’s no given Nil Lundkvist will be given a spot on the roster next season.
Nils Lundkvist and the Rangers overcrowded blue-line
This past season, Lundkvist was recognized as the Salming Trophy winner as the SHL’s best Swedish born defenseman. In 52 games, he notched 32 points which included 14 goals. That the most goals from a defenseman as an 21 year-old player or younger in the league’s history.
It’s numbers like that which have many believing he should be penned into the lineup as a third pairing right defenseman and on the second PP unit. Ultimately, those people could be right.
In reality, Lundkvist would be no better than third on the team’s depth chart for right defensemen. Both Adam Fox and Jacob Trouba are ahead of him. Braden Schneider is another top righty defenseman prospect and drawing a lot of attention as well. The two could very well battle it out for the spot in training camp.
The Blueshirts are currently overloaded on the left side, but both K’Andre Miller and Ryan Lindgren hold two of the three spots. Libor Hajek, Tarmo Reunanen, and Zac Jones are all lefties vying for a spot. But the conundrum comes with the fact the team is looking to add a veteran defenseman to the group like Alec Martinez via free agency.
Chris Drury is going to have to deal with abundance of talent on the blue-line. Whatever offseason moves he makes will also impact whether or not Lundkvist makes the team next year. Regardless, someone in the organization already told me that spending a year in the AHL is good for a young player’s development as well.
Nils Lundkvist contract
The terms to Nils’ deal have been revealed per PuckPedia. Starting next season, Lundkvist’s cap hit at the NHL level will be $925,000 with the potential to hit $1.775 million if he hits his $850,000 worth of bonuses.
Should Lundkvist play for the Wolf Pack, his salary would be $70,000.
Pekka Rinne keeping his option open, and more here.