The New York Rangers have bought out the final year of star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist’s contract. This officially ends his storied 15-year career with the team.
“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,” Rangers owner James Dolan said in a statement. “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.”
Lundqvist, 38, will become an unrestricted free agent and join a crowded market of veteran goaltenders when the signing period starts on October 9.
The Rangers paid tribute to Lundqvist’s storied career with the team in a tweet on September 30. Lundqvist also thanked the Rangers with a series of tweets on September 30, saying “Representing this organization has been the biggest source of pride and joy in my life.”
Lundqvist carried an $8.5 million salary-cap hit and was scheduled to make $4.5 million with a $1 million signing bonus during the final year of a seven-year, $59.5 million contract he signed in December 2013. The contract also carried a full no-movement clause, so a buyout was the most efficient way for the team to move on from Lundqvist.
The Rangers rolled with three goaltenders during the 2019-20 season, as Lundqvist split time with the 24-year olds Alexander Georgiev and Igor Shesterkin. Georgiev played 34 games, Lundqvist played 30 and the rookie Shesterkin played 12 games (with a 10-2 record).
During the Rangers’ 3-0 series loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in the qualifying round of the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs, Lundqvist started two games while Shesterkin started one.
Lundqvist has been the face of the New York Rangers franchise for over a decade. He also has become one of the most popular athletes in New York City throughout his 15-year run with the team. Lundqvist was drafted in the seventh round in 2000 by the Rangers and made the jump from Sweden to the NHL during the 2005-06 season.
He posted a record of 495-310-96 in 887 games, with a save percentage of .918, a 2.43 goals-against average and 64 shoutouts. Lundqvist is the Rangers franchise leader in each of those categories.
The Swedish goaltender is a five-time finalist for the Vezina trophy and won the award for the NHL’s top goaltender during the 2011-12 season.
According to Cap Friendly, the Rangers will have a cap hit of $5.5 million in 2020-21, a $3 million cap savings this season and $1.5 million in 2021-22 for buying out Lundqvist.