Wednesday, July 11, 2007

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.
If I'm Lundqvist or his agent, I don't sign that lowball deal without some serious guarantees that the lucrative extension gets done as soon as possible. Otherwise, the Swedish star could easily suffer a career-ending injury in the 30 or so games before Jan. 1 (Dan Blackburn comes to mind) and be left out to dry.

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.


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At 11:23 a.m., July 11, 2007, Anonymous David Johnson said...

The Rangers have a lot of salary coming off the books after this season (under $22 million committed in 2008-09) so they will not be tight against the cap next summer but they won't be able to bring everyone back either. It appears to me that the Rangers are going to make their run for the cup this season and have convinced Lundqvist to take less to allow them to keep Avery, Hossa and Shanahan to do that. For Lundqvist, if they can be successful in a cup run it will do wonders for his value.

At 11:38 a.m., July 11, 2007, Blogger saskhab said...

Lundqvist should feel slighted... the Rags clearly value Gomez & Drury more than him. There is no reason why Hank should be the one taking the hit for the team... he's the #1 reason they've made the playoffs for the past 2 years.

At 11:45 a.m., July 11, 2007, Blogger jorach said...

Why do people keep talking about Marcel Hossa like he's a useful hockey player?

At 11:54 a.m., July 11, 2007, Blogger Aaron said...

This is a very convenient set up for the Rangers. I can understand Lundqvist wants to stay in NY, but this contract situation is a bad joke. I really hope he's fired his agent, because clearly the agent has not been acting in the best interests of his client. When the Rangers spent all that money on Gomez and Drury they should have known it might cost them the services of Lundqvist. I really don't understand signing this contract just days before an arbitration hearing that surely would have netted Lundqvist at least twice as much money. The Rangers should have signed one star this year, one star next year, and locked Lundqvist up long term. As it stands now, the Rangers will have trouble putting a complete team out on the ice and will be prevented from being players at the trade deadline unless they can unload a hefty contract between now and then. I'm sure something will come up that will help the Rangers out of this mess (that is completely of their own making).

At 11:58 a.m., July 11, 2007, Anonymous Baroque said...

I'm also hoping that he doesn't get hurt. I wonder if the Rangers and Lundqvist have already agreed on the broad outlines of a deal to be signed as an extension, in terms and dollars, and are holding off purely to leave room under the cap this year. (And if so, I wonder how long before someone jumps on such an understanding as a loophole and screams bloody murder.)

At 12:00 p.m., July 11, 2007, Blogger Ben W said...

TSN says he got $4.25 million.

At 12:06 p.m., July 11, 2007, Anonymous Karina said...

So does the Globe and Mail...

At 12:09 p.m., July 11, 2007, Anonymous Lets Go Rangers said...

Some people are just plain crazy! Or HATERS! Those Haters are why I love being a Rangers fan...

It's called wanting to play for a team...So call them Rags, which probably means your a bitter Isles fan. Don't hate because every player in the NHL dreams of playing in NYC one day.

As for Aaron,
Do a little research and you will see that Rangers have more then enough for a team already without signing Hossa and Avery. Who they probably will sign any minute now that the rest are done. Plus 3 to 4 kids that can get the call or make the team in camp.

The Rangers are fine and will be fine. To me they have made great moves this off season. There will be trades...

"They value Gomez and Drury more" and "The Rangers overpaid" are great comments....From people that can't stand what their team looks in early July...I feel bad for many of you!

At 12:26 p.m., July 11, 2007, Anonymous David Johnson said...

Looks like the Rangers paid full price for Lundqvist.

At 12:53 p.m., July 11, 2007, Blogger saskhab said...

Hey, Lundqvist is a top 5 goalie in the world IMHO. We were all basing on him signing for $2.5m, which is ridiculous since most average starting goalies cost $3m or more. Hank shouldn't sign for that much of a discount, it's practically an insult. Especially since the Rags were willing to pay full value for Gomez & Drury, two inferior players.

But since he signed for $4.25m for 1 year, I accept it and let's move on. That's more than Backstrom, Miller, Toskala and Huet I believe. Which is right.

At 1:22 p.m., July 11, 2007, Anonymous Frank said...

According to the Rangers payroll for the 20 players already signed is $52.3 million. This includes Shanahan's base and bonus pay and Lundqvist's $4.25 million. If you add in the estimated $3.5 million to sign Avery and Hoosa the total is $55.8 million for a 22 player roster.

If you back out Shanahan's bonuses ($2.8 m)and have them paid in 2008/09, this leaves a payroll of $53.0 million. Ideally you would want to target $1.0 m below the cap to provide room to cover short term injuries during the season. So to get to $49.3 million, the Rangers have to shed $3.7 million of salariers - NET.

Now if the Rangers either trade for picks, or send down to the AHL Kasparitis and Malik they save $5.5 million GROSS. If they then replace these two with Staal and Giardi, who are already under contract and have combined salaries of $1.6 million, they would save $3.9 million NET, and would come in at a cap number of $49.1 million.

Therefore the plan is workable this year, but it would leave the Rangers with a young and inexperienced defence. However, having Lundqvist in goal will compensate for this. While this type of team could well win the Eastern Conference, they will likely be defeated by the more defensively oriented Western champion - as we saw this past year.

The interesting problems come next year. Even if the cap goes up $5 million Shanahan's 2007/08 bonus eats up $2.8 million of that. Then Straka becomes a UFA and will want a large increase and Shanahan will have to be replaced. On top of this all of the Rangers defencemen other than Staal and Giardi will become unrestricted free agents, and as we have seen this year it is extremely expensive to sign UFA defencemen.

As a result, one of the big two, Drury or Gomez will have to waive their no trade clauses and be traded or Lundqvist will be let go and replaced by Al Montoya. My bet is the later.

In any event the Rangers are likely to be one year wonders. You would have thought GMs would have learned from Tampa who tied up way to much money in Lecavalier, St. Louis and Richards,and then had nothing for defence or goaltending.

At 1:53 p.m., July 11, 2007, Blogger saskhab said...

The Rangers won't have to dump Lundqvist in the future... with Straka off the books, and likely Shanahan's base salary next year, they can find that money especially with a projected cap increase again next season.

Matt Cullen gets $2.8m, I think they'd try and find a new team for him at that rate before letting Lundqvist go.

Right now, the Rags are fine. Defer Shanahan's bonuses until next year, use that $2.8m this year for Avery & Hossa, put Kasper in the minors and you've got a lot of cap space all of a sudden ($48.71m cap hit). If Avery & Hossa add up to more than $2.8m, they're still OK for another $1m or so.

At 2:06 p.m., July 11, 2007, Blogger Aaron said...

let's go rangers, I was assuming he signed for $2.5 million, which would have been absurd. But Frank makes most of my points for me in that they have 22 players or so and are over the cap. They have to shed salary just to get under the cap, which will mean lots of young kids who may or may not be worth a damn. This also means they have no room to make a move at the deadline, and complicates the process of bringing someone up from the minors to fill in for an injury. It's poor planning no matter how you look at it, and it looked for a time as if Lundqvist was covering for the team.

At 2:07 p.m., July 11, 2007, Anonymous lets go rangers said...

You do the math well and thanks for that but I have to disagree on the predictions near the end. As of right now the Rangers sit at about 26 Million next year...The only forwards that are not signed are Straka and Shanny and I think that neither return. If you remember Straka was considering retiring before last season came back and extended to this year. I think they both hang them up. Those two spots are filled with young talent, trades or whatever the case this year and next. I think that Montoya, Prucha, Cullen and Malik are all being shopped to cut $.

Also heading into next year you have Tyutin, Pock, Girardi and Staal...

So you have 29 Million next year to pay off Shanny bonus, Sign Henrik to long term, Get two D and replace Straka and Shanny.

Really not that bad considering the moves that will be made before and during the season to gain cap space. There will be moves, that was the only reason Prucha got that contract this early.

At 7:37 a.m., July 12, 2007, Anonymous lets go rangers said...

Cullen going back to Carolina!

Just the start of the moves!

But, I know the Rangers and Sather had no plan....LMAO!!!!


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