The Rangers and Goaltending in today’s NHL Economy

Henrik Lundqvist
Lundqvist congratulates Shesterkin (Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire)

“Goaltending is the most important position,” yep we were told this is the absolute truth. However, what if I told you that paying a goaltender big bucks in today’s hockey economy is actually a bad idea? Don’t believe me? Let’s dive in.

The Goalie Economy

It’s well documented that the New York Rangers have an abundance of wealth at net minder. This might be a bit of a sad truth/reality but Hank making 9.5% of the salary cap is actually bad these days. Now with another season on his deal, the Rangers have to decide what to do with their 38 year old franchise icon.

Now, what if I told you that of the top 10 highest paid goalies four of them have been effective (Rask- BOS, Gibson-ANA, Hellebuyck – WPG, Crawford – CHI) this season. Additionally, the next two goalies are Jonathan Quick and Martin Jones, also not exactly winning the Vezina this season.

Rangers Economics

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

Goaltending, while important, has become interchangeable. Especially with teams finding hidden gems overseas or drafting and developing. Now let’s just look at the Rangers, “The franchise wasted Hank’s prime”. Well, maybe they didn’t. Without the rebuild taking place, the team wouldn’t have had the cap flexibility to sign Artemi Panarin, the best offensive talent since Jaromir Jagr. For the last decade, Lundqvist had made 9.5-13% of the Rangers cap with his last two contracts. That’s a massive chunk for one player.

Of course Hank is an icon and all of us wish he hoisted a Cup for the Blueshirts. Yet the question remains, if he didn’t hold such an impact on the cap, would the team have won one already? Remember this isn’t about Hank’s performance which has been otherworldly for years, this is about overall cap economics.

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With Georgiev due up after this season, assuming he isn’t dealt, and Igor due up in 2021, the organization shouldn’t be held hostage this go around. With the depth in the organization at goalie and Benoit Allaire, it allows the team to focus on the core skaters and not fall victim to “the most important position in the sport”.

Good goaltending is important, a good running game is important; but you shouldn’t pay running backs top dollar and in today’s hockey economy, you shouldn’t pay goaltenders either.

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