Earlier this week when the Chicago Blackhawks signed Corey Crawford to a six-year $36 million extension people were rightfully taken aback by the deal. Not to say that Crawford isn't a serviceable to good goaltender in this league but $6 million a season? That seems like a stretch. As of now it means that Crawford will have the fifth highest salary cap hit when his new contract kicks in.

Again I'm not necessarily trying to degrade Crawford here he's a fine goalie I just don't think I'm putting him in my top five in the league.

Really the issue is more in the fact that goaltender salaries and contract lengths have shot way up. I've always maintained that a goaltender in hockey is the single most important position in sports and now contracts are starting to reflect that value. As of now there are 11 goalies in the league that are signed with their current team for five years or more at an annual cap hit of $5 million or more. These guys are requiring big investments.

Which brings us to the goalies who are due for a new contract soon and one goalie in particular. You might have heard him; the King Henrik Lundqvist? The Vezina Trophy winner two seasons ago you could make an argument very easily that he has been the best goaltender in the NHL over the past few years. He has been consistent and consistently good.

The question on the minds of Rangers fans looking at their roster and salary cap situation is what will it cost to keep the King? The answer should be a lot.

Contracts work like court rulings they rely on precedent. Since the end of the lockout with new contract rules in place precedents have already been set. There is Crawford at six years $36 million Mike Smith at six years and $34 million and then there was Tuukka Rask at eight years and $56 million. It's an expensive game.

If we were to simply wonder what would be fair-market value for Lundqvist based on his comparables you'd have to think that Lundqvist is about to become a very rich man. OK he will but I mean exceedingly wealthy. Let's have a look at how these four guys compare in their last three seasons using just their basic box score stats.