Lundqvist to be a bargain
An announcement could come as early as this morning that (Henrik) Lundqvist has agreed to a one-year contract worth approximately $2.5 million. The deal is essentially a bridge to next season and beyond that will enable Lundqvist and the club to avoid their scheduled July 24 salary arbitration case while keeping the Rangers from having to unload players to get under this season's $50.3 million salary cap.
The 25-year-old goaltender will get his big-money, long-term deal soon enough. After Jan. 1, 2008, the Rangers can sign Lundqvist to a lucrative and lengthy extension for 2008-09 and beyond without affecting their '07-08 salary-cap situation. And they almost certainly will do so.
I don't think Lundqvist, nominated for the Vezina Trophy this season, should be put in a position where he has to defer his salary like this simply because the team overspent in free agency, but if that's a situation he's comfortable in, it certainly benefits the Rangers.
The other way I can see this backfiring is if Lundqvist continues to play lights out through the early portion of the season, and is in a position to demand upwards of $5-million a season come 2008.
Even with this discount, I imagine we'll be hearing about the Rangers' cap woes all season. The $50.3-million salary cap is peanuts to New York's ownership group, which has likely given Glen Sather the green light to spend as much as permitted (i.e. shuttling Darius Kasparaitis to Hartford) in order to win this season.
Given Brendan Shanahan's ridiculously easy-to-hit bonus clauses (he receives $2-million for playing more than 10 games next season), I imagine that's one hit that will count against next season's cap, meaning Sather will be squeezed again barring a big leap by that ceiling figure.
Here's hoping the Blueshirts have a capologist on staff; he's going to earn his keep over the coming years.
- This is a done deal now, figures to be released
- The deal is actually for $4.25-million for one year, meaning Lundqvist didn't take a bit hit in order to help the team