The final player to consider is easily the most unpopular choice. Even the consideration of cutting Henrik Lundqvist loose is painful for New York Rangers fans to think about. He has one year remaining on his contract. Jettisoning the $8.5M he is due to make in 2020-21 will clear the most cap space for the team.
This season’s three-headed-goalie tandem of Lundqvist, Georgiev, and star-in-the-making Igor Shesterkin has been well documented. The situation has been extremely problematic for both the veteran goaltender and the team. New York can’t continue rotating the trio next season as they have since Shesterkin arrived in January.
Someone has to be the odd man out. If the Rangers can’t find a trade offer they deem worthy for Georgiev (if that’s their first option to pair down the goalie trio), it may be time to look at sending The King off to greener pastures.
Bringing Hank’s tenure on Broadway to a premature end would be painful for fans, and a terrible way to bid farewell to arguably franchise’s best goalie of all time. However, given the timing of this potential buyout, Lundqvist’s big contract could be put to better use all across the roster going forward.
Additionally, the New York Rangers are still a few years away from being legitimate contenders. Having his name engraved on the Stanley Cup is about the only accolade in this sport The King hasn’t accomplished. As a free agent, he would have an opportunity to catch on with a team that has a legitimate shot to win it all.