What will become of Lundqvist, a wonderful ambassador for the Rangers, NHL, and New York City, but also 38 years old and entering the final year of his contract?
Depending on what the Rangers decide, “The King” either will be the NHL’s highest-paid backup in 2020-21 with a cap hit of $8.5 million or bought out. If the latter happens, the cap hits would be $5.5 million next season and $1.5 million in 2021-22.
Lundqvist’s immediate future on Broadway could depend on the trade market for the 24-year-old Georgiev, who played fairly well this season as part of a trio with “The King” and Igor Shesterkin (also 24).
If the right deal for Georgiev isn’t there, the Rangers shouldn’t give him away for picks. He’s arbitration eligible and will get a nice bump from his current cap hit of $792,500, but the savings from a buyout of Lundqvist would cover Georgiev’s raise with room to spare.
What would be so bad about the Rangers having a proven commodity behind Shesterkin if Georgiev is agreeable? Especially if he’d take $1.8 million per. Even at $2 million, his salary and Shesterkin’s combined would be less than Lundqvist’s cap hit. And last I checked, no netminder is immune to injury.
Whatever, comes of the goaltending situation, the Rangers’ first re-signing is a no-brainer.