Rangers officially buy out final year of Henrik Lundqvist’s contract

NHL insider Elliotte Friedman spoke to Sportsnet Central about the New York Rangers buying out Henrik Lundqvist, and speculate what is next for the veteran goaltender.

The New York Rangers have bought out the final year of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist’s contract, ending his 15-season run as the face of the franchise in the Big Apple, the team announced Wednesday.

“Few players have been as important to the Rangers franchise as Henrik Lundqvist, and we are incredibly grateful for all he has done for our organization,” said James Dolan, executive chairman of MSG Sports, in a press release.

“Over his 15-year tenure, he not only established himself as one of the best goaltenders to ever play the game, he has also been one of hockey’s fiercest competitors and most effective ambassadors. He will always be a part of the Rangers family.”

In a series of tweets, Lundqvist thanked the Rangers organization for his time with the Blueshirts.

The future Hall of Famer, 38, carried an $8.5 million cap hit on the seven-year contract signed in 2013, but was only owed $5.5 million in total salary for the 2020-21 season. According to a buyout calculation from CapFriendly, Lundqvist will count for $5.5 million against the Rangers’ salary cap in 2020-21 and for $1.5 million against the cap in 2021-22.

With the emergence of young netminders Alexandar Georgiev and Igor Shesterkin, and a flat salary cap as a result of the pandemic, the Rangers chose to move on without "King Henrik."

“We would like to thank Henrik for his immeasurable contributions to the New York Rangers,” said Rangers president and alternate governor John Davidson.

“From the time I met Henrik when he first came to New York in 2005, he has been the consummate professional. His tireless work ethic, passion for the game and love of the Rangers and New York City enabled him to become one of the greatest goaltenders in hockey and one of the best players in the history of our franchise. We all wish Henrik and his family the best going forward."

Lundqvist broke into the NHL with the Rangers in 2005-06 and is the most successful goalie to ever suit up for the Original 6 franchise. He is the team’s all-time leader in several goalie statistics, including games played (887), wins (459), save percentage (.918) and shutouts (64).

The Rangers appeared in the playoffs in 11 of his 15 seasons, reaching the Eastern Conference Final three times and losing in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final to the Los Angeles Kings. Lundqvist won the Vezina Trophy in 2012 and was a finalist for the award two other times.

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