Henrik Lundqvist and the rest of the New York Rangers hit the ice again today as the 2012 NHL Lockout has finally ended. Lundqvist, the defending Vezina Trophy winner will be looking for the one thing that has alluded him so far in his career, a Stanley Cup Championship.
One of his many current accomplishments is the streak of winning 30+ games in each of his seven seasons. That looks like it will come to an end this year.
In order to reach this goal again this season, Lundqvist will have to play in, at the very least, 30 of 48 games – that is 62.5% of the Rangers games this year. Last year, he played in 75.6% of the Rangers games but only won 63% of those games. That same percentage would mean he would have to play in EVERY GAME this season to reach the 30 win plateau.
Looks like this streak is going to need an asterisk.
Another bit of Rangers news coming out of the Lockout is the sudden need to lock up Michael Del Zotto, the remaining restricted free agent on the Rangers’ roster. While the number to keep him their property is low, it is not out of the realm for another team to swoop in and offer the defender a quality deal. The Rangers have been offering a deal in the $2.5 million range while Del Zotto is looking for more. Glen Sather has said he has hoped MDZ would “come to his senses”, but a more reasonable $2.75-2.85 million may get it done.
If it is more than that, perhaps the Rangers should let him go or trade his rights. The Rangers have many of their young future coming up for new deals or extensions pretty soon, and that is not including their most important player, Henrik Lundqvist, who will likely enter negotiations on an extension after this season.
A Little Lockout Clean Up:
While there are terms for an early release from the agreement, a 10-year deal between the NHL and NHLPA seems to be something that will give fans hope a lockout will not occur any time soon.
Looking at the new CBA, one might think the Players ultimately won [an unwinnable fight – everyone lost in this, mostly fans]. They held strong on not giving up more than a 50-50 split of revenue and got that. They refused to bow before short contract years limits and received a 7-year limit for free agents and 8-years for players re-signing with their own team. The cap will also only fall to $64.3 million in ’13-14, a number from which the players refused to budge, and one that is far from the $60M the owners wanted.
Beyond winners and losers, the league also created yet another fan-friendly event to look forward to:
Starting for next year’s draft, all 14 teams that miss the playoffs will be eligible for the NHL Draft Lottery. We can now add this show to the actual draft, the All-Star draft, All-Star festivities, and Winter Classic as another unique experience the NHL can present.
They will need all the originality and fan-friendliness they can get. Now begins the rebuilding process between the league, its players, and the one’s that got nothing out of this entire ordeal, the fans.