Lundqvist, RFA Talks This Weekend; Clowe Willing to Take Paycut

Katie Strang of ESPN informs us that the New York Rangers expect to be busy this upcoming weekend with their team aside from drafting future Blueshirts on Sunday at the Entry Draft.

First, the news that Henrik Lundqvist talks should begin over the weekend:

– The sooner the better. Although I doubt a contract is signed before the season starts, it's at least encouraging to see both sides willing to begin talks early. For Hank, a lot depends on how the team will play under new HC Alain Vigneault. Pretty sure the man is tired of his own players screening shots and the opposition taking liberties with him in his own crease.

The other significant news is in regards to the Rangers' bevy of RFAs that need new contracts:

– The Rangers have roughly $14 million in cap space to work with this offseason. The majority of it will go to sign  Stepan, McDonagh and Hagelin. Barring anything ridiculous, you can add Zuccarello to this list, leaving the Rangers with little wiggle room afterwards to improve the team. Unless they buy out Brad Richards of course.

Meanwhile, we shift to Pat Leonard of the NY Daily News reporting that the Rangers, who were waiting for clearance from team doctors, will begin negotiating with UFA Ryane Clowe in the coming days.

The biggest news to come of this is Clowe, 30 years old and coming off a season where he suffered 3 concussions, is willing to take a pay cut to stay in New York.

“I’m not exactly sure what a pay cut would be, but I’m open to negotiating to find a way to stay here, there’s no question about that,” Clowe said. “I enjoyed it here. You start to form a little bit of a bond, I guess, with the team and the guys. We’ll see what happens, but I feel like this team has the nucleus and the core, and then obviously a guy like Hank in net. Everyone wants to win in New York, and it would be great.”

Clowe is coming off a four-year, $14.5 million ($3.625 million cap hit) deal signed with the San Jose Sharks.

– I'm very, very leery giving Clowe a multi-year deal. Yes, the Rangers could use his size and grit. But that was for a Torts coached team. Now that Vigneault is on board, maybe he'd like to bring in others to do Clowe's job (Mason Raymond?) who are younger and/or cheaper.

– If Clowe is willing to do a deal of three years and $9 million, I could get behind it. Although, I'd still be worried about him staying healthy.

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