So the hockey dead space is here. The Cup has been awarded and we anxiously await the draft before finding out what next season is even going to look like. In the meantime, the buyout season is in full-swing and the biggest name we were all waiting for has come down that pipeline:
OFFICIAL: Rangers announce that the team has bought out the final year of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist’s contract.— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) September 30, 2020
What I want to talk about is the pie-in-the-sky idea of Lundqvist coming to Detroit. I want to say pie-in-the-sky right here for two reasons:
- It’s fun to say
- I want to get way out ahead on the idea that I don’t think this is terribly realistic
With that out of the way, let’s look at what makes sense
Detroit needs a goalie
I really like what Jonathan Bernier did for the Wings late into last season and am ready for him to be the starter for another season of improvement for the Wings while we wait for them to step into contender status. I worry about committing long term big dollars to the position though.
There’s an argument that the Wings shouldn’t have a world-beater goalie to mask mistakes, but the other side of that coin is that they could very much use more-consistent goaltending so every. single. mistake. stops ending up in the back of their net; a problem that can derail improvement through destroying confidence.
Detroit has both the cap and the display space
The Wings shouldn’t throw all the money in the world at Lundqvist, but they can give him a decent deal and, if it’s only one year, Lundqvist being over 35 means it can be bonus-laden based on things the Wings may not be able to accomplish, but Lundqvist possibly could.
Not only this, but Detroit could give Lundqvist the right amount of both starts and load management to showcase how solid he can be.
Lundqvist could mitigate his own risks
Let’s face it, at 38 and fabulously wealthy, the only thing that would keep Lundqvist going is the quest for the elusive cup and the Red Wings aren’t scratching that itch for him in 2020-21. However, making the decision on signing with a contender in the offseason right now comes with two big drawbacks:
- He has to decide which contender is THE “right one” this moment before any 2020-21 games have been played
- He has to hope that contender not only has a spot for him to play, but the cap space to even sign him, which can cost him a premium on his contract
With that in mind, Detroit could offer Lundqvist a chance to earn a little more, play a little more, and then move on to a contender in need of goaltending much closer to the playoffs.
The Downside to Detroit
The biggest risk here is that in order to give Lundqvist the kind of risk-mitigation I’m talking about, he would have to be given a NTC on this deal. If Yzerman has a suitor lined up with a great return, Lundqvist has to like his chances with that team. This could cost the Wings value on the trade market.
There’s also the
pie-in-th...errr... unrealistic worry that Lundqvist is so good for this young Wings team that he gives false illusion of them being a real contender, doesn’t get traded at all, and then the Wings are hurt in the draft order.
All things considered, I think Lundqvist ends up in a place like Colorado instead of going the more-flexible and alternatively-risky route I laid out here, but it’s worth exploring. What do you think?