The Colorado Avalanche might take a look at a potential Henrik Lundqvist signing, if the price is right.
The Colorado Avalanche might be looking at the fact that Henrik Lundqvist got bought out yesterday. It’s kind of a huge deal.
The longtime New York Rangers goaltender spent 20 years in the organization, since being drafted 205th overall in 2000. The Swede holds the Rangers records for wins in regular season and playoffs, shutouts, and holds the record for most wins by a European goaltender. Holding gold and silver Olympic medals, a Vezina trophy, and a place on the NHL’s All Decade Team for the 2010s, it’s a no brainer Lundqvist is headed to the Hall in a few years.
The Avalanche also might be, according to every rumour online, looking to change up their goaltending, especially with a goaltending duo that faced injuries in their playoffs against Dallas. Let’s stir the pot a little. If things look enticing for both parties, should Henrik Lundqvist spend his final years in Denver?
- Money. Hank made $8.5 million per year with the Rangers, at a lower deal, the Avalanche can easily afford to pay him. As I mentioned a month ago, the Avs have nearly 5 million coming off the books, not to mention
- Philipp Grubauer’s uncertain future. I love Grubauer, and most Avs fans would hate to see him go, but after the Avs starter left the first game of the Dallas series with a lower body injury, forcing him to travel back to Denver, his future has been in question. Grubauer’s $3.33 cap hit could easily be moved, making room for a similar deal for Henrik. Having Lundqvist in tandem with Pavel Francouz would help the Czech find a more comfortable role. Of course, things could always go another way.
- A chance for Lundqvist to take Francouz’s spot. Francouz won over Avs fans this season, but went down with injuries as well. While his $2M cap hit isn’t a big dent, Lundqvist might be an easier choice than Francouz to handle any games Grubauer can’t play. Lundqvist gave up a ton of the slack to Alexandar Georgiev and rookie Igor Shesterkin last season, in the case Grubauer is still healthy, it makes sense for the Avs to keep their better guy.
- It’s a short term deal that wouldn’t affect next summer. Cale Makar and Gabriel Landeskog get their extensions without having to worry about the cap.
- Experience. Remember Ray Bourque? Remember when Ray Bourque came to win a Stanley Cup after 22 years, and did it? Let’s do it again. With the Olympic gold, awards, and 2014 Finals appearance under his belt, Lundqvist has gone farther than most of the Avs. Being a veteran presence in the locker room could ignite a lot.
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Money. Remember that was a pro? Vincent Lecavalier got bought out from his $7.7 million deal by the Tampa Bay Lightning back in 2013, only to sign a $4.5 million per year deal with the Philadelphia Flyers. Although it would be a one year deal, the Avs need to not overpay when signing a guy who is 38.
Henrik Lundqvist is 38. He is not the player he used to be. If the Avalanche had a time machine to a few years ago, it would be nice, but in doing so, they would be signing a guy who could easily struggle.
Philipp Grubauer and Pavel Francouz aren’t bad. Both went down with injuries in the Dallas series, and both played extremely well in the playoffs. While bringing in Henrik Lundqvist to replace one of them would be nice, it’s not essentially an improvement.
There’s other areas to improve. The Avalanche could easily spend that money on a forward. Or a defender. Or on Taylor Hall.
If it doesn’t cost a lot, do it. If the Avalanche manage to get a worth it return for one of their goalies, possibly Francouz, losing the $2 million cap hit would be worth it, as long as Lundqvist isn’t carrying the slack.
Lundqvist isn’t the most attractive netminder in free agency — names like Robin Lehner, Jakob Markstrom, and Braden Holtby are sure to get much, much more money. But for a team looking to fix a snag, Lundqvist might be a quick fix.