A possible nightmare scenario for the Rangers and their fans has a serious possibility of playing out this season. If the Blueshirts struggle in the new "Metropolitan Division" and fail to make the playoffs there is a real chance that Henrik Lundqvist might look elsewhere in an attempt to get his name etched on the Stanley Cup.
If that frightening circumstance comes to fruition, where does that leave the Rangers? Would they promote from within? Look to free agency? With the lack of legit goaltending prospects in the system, I find the former very unlikely. So who will be available on the open market next summer for the Rangers to choose from? Joe Yerdon at Pro Hockey Talk gives us the list…
Jonas Hiller, Ryan Miller, Corey Crawford, Semyon Varlamov (RFA), Devan Dubnyk, Martin Brodeur, Evgeni Nabokov, Robin Lehner (RFA), Ray Emery, Steve Mason (RFA), Tomas Vokoun, Jaroslav Halak, Brian Elliott, Anders Lindback (RFA), and James Reimer (RFA).
It has been reported that Lundqvist, who recently described on-going negotiations with the Rangers as "volatile," will likely be looking for the maximum eight-year, $80 million contract.
…i'm sorry folks, but if Lundqvist doesn't budge from his demands, I really do think the Rangers should seriously look in another direction. Locking a 31-year old goaltender up for eight years at $10M per is beyond the height of stupidity in the salary cap NHL. The Rangers would be much better off either trading Hank (Malkin?) or letting him walk and signing one of the above goaltenders.
…and the one guy who jumps out at me on that list is Hiller. He has a lifetime 2.51 gaa and .917 sv % and will likely not be re-signed by the Ducks as they seem to favor Fasth over him. Let me ask you this. Would you rather Lundqvist and the current roster for the next eight years or Hiller and the ability to add one or two top scorers such as Kessel, Stasney, the Sedin twins or Vanek, who are all UFAs next offseason and still have enough (with Richards buyout) for 2015 when names such as Toews, Kane, Krejci and Bobby Ryan become UFAs?
…fyi, with training camp right around the corner, I promise you, articles such as this will be ending.