Many fans admired the New York Rangers and their management for letting their fans know about the many upcoming changes that would affect the team when they published a letter prior to the trade deadline to explain what was ahead. They weren't lying. The Rangers ended up trading Michael Grabner, and also shipped out veterans Ryan McDonagh and Rick Nash during a fire sale prior to the 2018 trade deadline. The rebuilding phase had begun.
While fans were aware of the changes to come, on Thursday, they finally found out about a blockbuster trade that could have taken place if the main target didn't stop the transaction. The list of traded pieces from the Rangers could've also included franchise goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, revealed New York Post's Larry Brooks.
"We told Hank that if he didn't want to ride it out through this process, we'd find a good landing place for him," James Dolan, executive chairman of The Madison Square Garden Company, told Brooks. "But he said he wanted to stay and see it through.
"I'm very happy thats the way he feels. I think with him at the top of his game, that gives us our best chance of competing for a playoff spot next year."
Lundqvist had remained committed to the team, stating, "I want to be here and battle through the ups and downs", even before the many trades took place in February. At the end of the season, he published a few posts on social media, asking fans to stay loyal and understand that by rebuilding the club, it will become stronger and a better contender in the coming years.
"Disappointing second half of the season. Came up short and it will hurt for a while. We all have different opinions on how, why and what if...Important thing right now, where do we go from here. Step by step we WILL get closer to where we need to be. I believe it, I hope you do to," Lundqvist wrote on social media last week.
According to the information provided by Cap Friendly, Lundqvist is signed through the 2020-21 season with an $8.5-million annual cap hit and a full no-movement clause. This past season, he still managed to post a .915 save percentage this past season.
“I think Hank was able to keep us in the playoff race when we probably didn’t really belong there the way the team was playing,” Dolan added about his loyal goaltender. “Having him in place gives us a great foundation going forward.”