The New York Rangers certainly have the potential to be one of the busier teams leading toward next month’s trade deadline.
Darren Dreger had a Monday afternoon radio hit on Edmonton’s TSN 1260.
Toward the end of the conversation, Dreger was asked if perhaps Henrik Lundqvist having been pulled in his past two starts signalled ‘the inevitable decline’ of the 36-year-old goaltender.
“Well, it could be,” allowed Dreger. “I mean, there’s miles on this guy, and he is nothing but a pro. We talked about Alex Ovechkin at the All-Star - I asked a Rangers rep when the teams were selected whether or not Henrik Lundqvist would consider bailing, and he just said, ‘No, he loves that kind of stuff and he feels it’s part of his responsibility.’
“And he made it clear when the Rangers entered into this phase of that renovation that he was committed. He wants to be part of the solution. He wants to be part of the turnaround.
“But it’s tough when you don’t have the same horses to run with. And I wonder if emotionally that’s weighing on him to some degree. He’s not going to admit that either privately or publicly.
“But he’s in tip-top condition - he’s just not quite as sharp as he once was. Maybe that is also a reflection of where this team sits. They’re not as good defensively as what they were a year or two ago when they thought that they were still in a contending position.
“It’s going to be interesting to watch what Jeff Gorton does moving forward here. We’ve heard the names who are out there - the likes of Zuccarello, Hayes is another one. I think that you could probably put half-a-dozen, maybe as many as 10 players on a trade list, and Gorton would consider moving those pieces.
“So there’s some hefty work ahead.”
Lundqvist has two seasons beyond 2018-19 remaining on his contract, which includes a no-move clause in each of those years.
The list of pending unrestricted free agents includes Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello, Cody McLeod, and Adam McQuaid.
Contract-related info via CapFriendly