For a goaltender that has played just 152 NHL games, won only 83 games and is just 28-years-old, a six-year contract extension worth $36 million seems like an awful lot to pay a masked man who has not really proven a lot.
This is exactly what Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford got on Monday. While Crawford did play well in the post-season last year, leading the Blackhawks to their second Stanley Cup in four years, Crawford has not proven much otherwise in the league so far.
There will be those that tell you that winning the Cup is everything when it comes to the NHL. While that is mostly true, there are certainly other standards in which goaltenders are judged upon.
Based on the criteria mentioned below, New York Rangers’ all-star netminder Henrik Lundqvist certainly deserves a contract that is worth more than what Crawford is going to earn over the next several seasons.
Again, we know that Crawford won the Cup last season but had the team put Ray Emery between the pipes, there is a good chance that the same result would have occurred.
When it comes to the Rangers, they struggle to win games when Lundqvist is not between the pipes. In eight seasons in the NHL, Lundqvist has won 276 games and was also the first netminder to record at least 30 wins in each of his first seven seasons in the league.
Had the Rangers had a different netminder in their net, that win total might be a lot lower.
In his eight years with the Blueshirts, Lundqvist has been nothing but consistent.
Besides winning at least 30 games each season he plays, he consistently posts some of the top numbers in several goaltending categories. Year in and year out, one can find Lundqvist in the top five or ten in terms of goals against average, save percentage, shutouts, games played, and saves made.
It should also be noted that he is doing this on a team that does not provide a lot of offence, which means the pressure to perform is on Lundqvist every time he skates into the Rangers’ net.
At the end of every season it seems like Lundqvist is up for an award or awards whether it is one given by the league or one given by his team.
In his NHL career Lundqvist has won or has been nominated for the following awards:
— Vezina Trophy Winner (2012)
— Vezina Trophy Nominee (2006, 2007, 2008, 2012 and 2013)
— Calder Trophy Nominee (2006)
— Hart Trophy Nominee (2012)
— Ted Lindsay Award (2012)
— NHL First All-Star Team (2012)
In regards to the Rangers, Lundqvist has been named the team’s most valuable player for seven straight seasons. Without Lundqvist the Rangers are not a playoff team nor are they club to necessarily to be feared whether it is in the Eastern Conference or the entire league.
Lastly, one has to take a look at what other elite goaltenders are making in order to see that Lundqvist deserves at least the same amount or more than what these goalies are earning.
According to CapGeek, here are the top five goalies in terms of salary earned per season:
— Nashville Predators’ netminder Pekka Rinne ($7 million)
— Los Angeles Kings’ Cup-winning goaltender Jonathan Quick ($7 million)
— Vancouver Canucks’ shaky-ground goaltender Roberto Luongo ($6,714,000)
— Cam Ward of the Carolina Hurricanes ($6.6 million)
— Buffalo Sabres’ masked man Ryan Miller ($6.25 million).
There is no doubt that the five netminders mentioned above deserve the money that they are making. Heck, two of them have won a Cup and the others have either won or been nominated for the Vezina.
When looking at what Lundqvist has done and what the market is showing now, Lundqvist deserves to get paid a hefty amount by the Blueshirts.