Pay the Man: Show Lundqvist the Money
By Patrick Hoffman
If you’re a true New York Rangers’ fan and follower of the NHL, you already know that you have perhaps the best goaltender in the National Hockey League.
Rangers’ fans know that their favorite hockey team needs to do everything it can to sign Henrik Lundqvist to a long and fair deal. While it does not always work out that way, this is something that simply needs to happen in order for the Blueshirts to have success going forward.
With that said, Lundqvist’s new deal is going to come down to dollars and sense, and everything does these days in pro sports. If you follow the game closely, you know that Chicago Blackhawks’ gave Cup-winning masked man Corey Crawford, a netminder who has played just 152 games, a six-year contract extension worth $36 million.
While there is no doubt that Crawford is a talented goaltender, this seems like an awful lot to pay a keeper who has not really proven a lot. Crawford certainly played well in the postseason last year in leading the Blackhawks to their second Stanley Cup in four years but other than that, he has not proven much else in this league so far.
There will be those that tell you that winning the Cup is everything when it comes to the NHL. While that is mostly true, there are certainly other standards in which goaltenders are judged upon.
Based on the criteria mentioned below, the “King” certainly deserves a contract that is worth more than what Crawford is going to earn over the next several seasons.
Again, we know that Crawford won the Cup last season but had the team put Ray Emery between the pipes, there is a good chance that the same result would have occurred.
When it comes to the Rangers, the team struggles to win games when Lundqvist is not between the pipes. In his eight seasons in the NHL, Lundqvist has won 276 games and was also the first netminder to record at least 30 wins in each of his first seven seasons in the league.
Had the Rangers had a different netminder in their net, that win total might be a lot lower.
In his eight years with the Blueshirts, Lundqvist has been nothing but consistent.
Besides winning at least 30 games each season he plays, he consistently posts some of the top numbers in several goaltending categories. Year in and year out, one can find Lundqvist in the top five or 10 in terms of goals against average, save percentage, shutouts, games played, and saves made.
It should also be noted that he is doing this on a team that does not provide a lot of offence, which means the pressure to perform is on Lundqvist every time he skates into the Rangers’ net.
At the end of every season, it seems like Lundqvist is up for an award (s) whether it is an award given by the league or one given by his team.
When it comes to the NHL, Lundqvist has won or has been nominated for the following awards:– Vezina Trophy Winner (2012). – Vezina Trophy Nominee (2006, 2007, 2008, 2012 and 2013). – Calder Trophy Nominee (2006). – Hart Trophy Nominee (2012). – Ted Lindsay Award (2012). – NHL First All-Star Team (2012).
In regards to the Rangers, Lundqvist has been named the team’s most valuable player for seven straight seasons. Without Lundqvist, the Rangers are not a playoff team nor are they club to necessarily to be feared whether it is in the Eastern Conference or the entire league.
When looking at what Lundqvist has done and what the market is showing now, Lundqvist deserves to get paid a hefty amount by the Blueshirts.
Patrick covers the NHL as a contributing writer for Sportsnet.ca.
Prior to writing for Sportsnet.ca, Hoffman’s musings have been published on Kukla’s Korner the NHL Network Radio Blog, the Red Light District Hockey Blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Spector’s Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com, as well as a slew of others.
For comments and hip checks, feel free to contact Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @pathoffman35.
Photo by Getty Images.