With the Rangers’ long-rumored buyout of Henrik Lundqvist now official, the natural question is: “Which team will sign Lundqvist?” This, of course, assumes that Lundqvist will continue his vaunted career. Just about any hockey fan should hope that the 38-year-old keeps chugging along.
Few know what Henrik Lundqvist wants (beyond Lundqvist)
Ultimately, we can only guess where Lundqvist may sign next. We don’t know his priorities, although it seems reasonable to assume that he would emphasize the chance to win that elusive Stanley Cup.
If Lundqvist followed in the footsteps of other veteran sports stars and took very little money to chase that late-career championship, it would be understandable. After all, Cap Friendly estimates Lundqvist’s career earnings at close to $100 million.
But Lundqvist might want the best chance to play, rather than a platoon or backup situation. Maybe he’d want to stay reasonably close to New York City, being that he played for the Rangers for 15 years?
What Henrik Lundqvist brings to the table at age 38
No doubt, Lundqvist is no longer at his peak, and oh what a peak it was.
By the numbers, it’s fair to wonder what sort of goalie teams would be getting in current-day Lundqvist.
In 2019-20, Lundqvist went 10-12-3 with a .905 save percentage. That marks the second straight season in that range, as he sank to .907 in 2018-19.
According to Hockey Reference’s version of Goals Saved Above Average, Lundqvist was on the negative side of the ledger (from -4.16 to -5.21) in three of the last four seasons.
While some of those stats attempt to correct for the quality of teams in front of goalies, it’s still worth wondering if Lundqvist might enjoy a renaissance in a different situation. To be frank, the Rangers have been abysmal defensively for some time now. And, for a veteran like Lundqvist, it might be tougher to find that fire on a rebuilding team.