The King has hit the court after today’s buyout of Henrik Lundqvist, adding yet another name to the overflowing free agent goaltender market. Of course, there is no guarantee that the former New York Rangers netminder will continue his career in the NHL, given his age and career so far. Lundqvist has only ever played for the Rangers, suiting up more than 1,000 times for the team over 15 years.
His agent Don Meehan told Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic that Lundqvist’s desire to play elsewhere is “to be determined” while Craig Custance was told by an NHL source that they had been told the veteran goaltender would be playing “unless the market isn’t there for him.” The 38-year-old will collect $1.5MM in buyout salary from the Rangers each of the next two years.
- There are a lot of goaltenders available this year and the Calgary Flames have checked in on all of them, according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet. That includes speaking with the Columbus Blue Jackets who have two young goaltenders under contract in the NHL and several more interesting prospects on the way. The Flames have David Rittich under contract for the 2020-21 season at $2.75MM but could use an upgrade at the position if they hope to contend for the Stanley Cup. Not only does Rittich’s .907 save percentage this season not inspire a ton of confidence he’s the answer, but the Flames also may be thinking about the effects of a condensed schedule on the position. Rittich started 48 games in 2019-20, the most of his career, and had an .893 save percentage after Christmas.
- One team that will hang up if Calgary calls? The Florida Panthers, who have shut down multiple teams asking about top goaltending prospect Spencer Knight. Custance reports that the Panthers have absolutely no desire to move Knight, who they picked 13th overall in 2019 despite the presence of Sergei Bobrovsky (and his long-term contract). Knight, 19, put up a .931 save percentage as a freshman for Boston College and will likely be USA Hockey’s starter once again at this year’s World Juniors.