NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist has one year left on his contract before he can become an unrestricted free agent.
The Blueshirts might look to sign Lundqvist to a long-term contract now before he can hit the open market in a year.
But the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, who is again a finalist this year to be named the NHL’s top goalie, wouldn’t say whether he’d be open to negotiating a new deal this offseason.
“I’m going to talk to my agent and we’ll see,” Lundqvist said Monday. “I have had such a great time here in New York. From Day One they have treated me really well and given me an opportunity to play a lot of hockey. It’s been a lot of fun. … But we’ll see. I’ll talk to my agent and take it from there.”
The New York Daily News called the 31-year-old Lundqvist’s choice of words — he talked about the team in the past tense — “unsettling.”
“I have one more year on the contract and right now I am just trying to get over this year,” said Lundqvist.
That was a common theme throughout the Rangers’ locker room.
“Every year is important. It doesn’t matter where you are in your career,” Lundqvist said two days after the team’s second-round elimination. “When you have an opportunity to go forward to win, you need to grab that opportunity. Last year was one of those years, and this year we had the team to go for it.”
Last year, New York reached the conference finals before bowing out against New Jersey. Though through the disappointment, the feeling was that this year wasn’t necessarily a regression in the growth and development of the team.
“I know the surrounding feeling here is that it was a negative season, a disappointing season. I don’t buy it and I won’t,” coach John Tortorella said. “There are some good things that happened. I don’t think we took a step backward. I think this is a sideways step in our lineup and how things worked out.
“We played really well our last couple of months to get in, found a way to win a big series against Washington, and against Boston I thought we competed right to the end.”
But everyone was in agreement that the end arrived much sooner than they wanted and felt that it would.
“We were in the conference finals last year. We had high expectations on ourselves this year. It didn’t go our way, so yeah it is a step back,” Lundqvist said. “It’s tough to make it there, though. You can’t just expect it to happen. You have to work really hard, you have to do a lot of things right, and probably have some good bounces on the way to make it there.
“We definitely hoped for better this year, but you can’t just go out and expect it to happen. It’s going to be a challenge every year. It doesn’t matter what type of team you have.”
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