- This past week the NY Rangers signed Henrik Lundqvist to a 7 year extension for 59.5 Million Dollars. Lundqvist who turns 32 March 2nd will have annual salary of 8.5 Million dollars which is the 5th highest in the NHL. Only Ovechkin, Crosby, Malkin and Perry make more on annual basis than Lundqvist. Lundqvist will be 40 years old when this contract ends so the last 3-4 years on this deal could be a bit ugly for the Rangers.
However maybe Lundqvist will be like Martin Brodeur and be effective up to age 40.
Remember at age 40 Brodeur had the Devils in the Stanley Cup finals. Quite simply the Rangers had to sign Lundqvist, they could not lose their biggest marque player in years to free agency this off-season.
- With Lundqvist signing this past week it’s another big name off the board for free agency come the off-season. Besides Lundqvist we have already seen Pominville, both Sedin twins and Ericsson sign extensions. This is good news for the players who intend to or will be in free agency because the thinner the market gets the more money all players get in free agency from the top players to the solid contributors.
- I am starting to read that the cap ceiling will rise from the current 64.3 Million to 70 Million for next season. Don’t take this as Gospel but this is the first estimated number I have seen.
- With the Blue Jackets without the services of the Veniza trophy winning goalie Sergei Bobrovsky the next 4 – 5 weeks, it’s critcial that their #2 gaolieCurtis McElhinney is solid. McElhinney has played really well this season is off to an excellent start as the current teams #1.
- With concussions on Saturday night to key players for the NY Rangers in Marc Staal and Boston Bruins Loui Eriksson who have had concussion problems in the past (2nd concussion this season alone for Eriksson & Staal has missed major time the last 2 seasons prior to this year over concussions) the NHL has to start trying to figure out what they can do as much as possible for player safety. I have written about this before, both the players and the league need to come up with a game plan and try to minimize concussions as much as possible. I know this is a fast physical sport but more precautions must be made in both the interest of the players health and the teams who have been shelling out a lot of rich long term contracts. My advice is every player, GM, front office personal, and owner read the relatively new book “League of Denial” by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru. I also highly recommend this book to all of you guys as well.
- It’s a good thing that Islanders GM Garth Snow protected himself in the Thomas Vanek trade by making the 1st round pick he gave up for this coming draft top 10 protected. I hate to say it as I have stated before I am NY Islanders fan but unless a major, major turn around happens the Islanders are in a lost season. This is not good news for the Sabres either because this would mean the Sabres would have to wait until the end of June 2015 to get one of the prized assets in the Vanek trade. (If Snow protects the 2014 pick, which he will if Isles finish in bottom 10 then the 1st round compensation in the Vanek trade will move to 2015). If a turn around does not happen look for Snow to trade Vanek after the Olympics and recoup the draft picks he lost to the Sabres or land a promising young player, a young goalie or defenseman would be nice. Also it’s a matter of time before the Isles infuse top prospects from their AHL team in Ryan Strome, Anders Lee and Scott Mayfield into the lineup.
- I think the Isles need a new voice and Peter Laviolette to the Islanders makes a lot of sense. He loved his time on Long Island before and the Islanders have a very talented organization. Charles Wang owner of the Islanders, even though he fired Laviolette once before is a big fan of his both professional and personally and has admitted firing him was a mistake. Right now it’s in the rumor stage but this makes a lot of sense for both parties in my opinion.
- The Metropolitan division is very lucky with the new playoff format that the top 3 teams in each division qualify for the playoffs. The 5th place Leafs in the Atlantic who are at 35 Points have more points than the 2nd place Capitals in the Metro who are at 32. If it wasn’t for the fact that the Islanders were in the Metro they would have no shot at the playoffs.
- Out West which is so loaded I think you will have at least 2 really good teams miss the playoffs, maybe 3 teams.
Okay that’s it for this weeks addition of Up the Boards. Everyone have a great week.
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