The New York Rangers now find themselves at a crossroads, sitting eight points out of the last Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference, 20 days prior to the trade deadline. Injuries have been brutal with the Rangers, who now may decide to cut their losses at the Feb. 26 trade deadline and focus on the future.
Whatever path they choose to take, star netminder Henrik Lundqvist says he is in.
“I want to play for one organization. This one," Lundqvist told the New York Post in an interview about the state of the team, the only one he's known in the past 13 seasons. "I love it here. I want to be here and battle through the ups and downs, the good and the bad. It’s important to me.”
Lundqvist seems adamant about staying in New York, rather than to play for a Stanley Cup contender, but some experts believe the Rangers should convince him otherwise.
Yes, you read right. According to Shawn Simpson, general manager Jeff Gorton should tell his star goalie to move along and expect to be moved at the deadline so he can have a shot at a Stanley Cup, and the Rangers can acquire a massive package for the rebuilding future in the Big Apple.
The Rangers are said to be willing to trade veteran forwards Rick Nash and Michael Grabner — both pending unrestricted free agents — and would consider offers for captain Ryan McDonagh and winger Mats Zuccarello, who can become UFAs following the 2018-19 season.
The veteran goalie, who will turn 36 shortly, does not seem to fit on a club looking to reset and rebuild, and the time might be now for him to finally win a Cup. Not in a few years when he will approach 40 years old.
“The question has come up before about maybe having to go somewhere else to win it, but I don’t think that way,” Lundqvist said. “I’ve never felt the need for that.”
If the Rangers can convince him, Lundqvist could draw the interest of the New York Islanders who have been struggling in between the pipes, but could manage to be a threatening contenders with the right piece in net. The St. Louis Blues are also a team who might pull a blockbuster move to ensure a long playoff run, and Lundqvist could become a key piece in that equation...
The Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning might also be interested in pulling a surprising move to have a strong man in between the pipes and not worry about that aspect of the game in time for the postseason - who knows!?
Did you ever think the day would come?!