I'm not sure how anyone can say he's definitely going to stay in New York for any reason. The Rangers are the prototypical team (talking about results during his years there) where a player at the end of his contract would choose to leave for a better contender.[/quote]
You speak like this is a thing that happens frequently. Top players stay with their teams. Name a franchise-type player from the last 10 years. Now consider whether he's moved teams in free agency. Thornton, Lecavalier, St. Louis, Crosby, E. Staal, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Iginla, the Sedins, Luongo, Spezza, Alfredsson, Getzlaf, Perry, and so on and so forth. Some of these guys may well be traded (Iginla already was, Thornton was a while ago, Luongo probably will be), but they've signed long deals to remain with their current clubs.
You've basically got Parise, Suter, Kovalchuk, B. Richards, and Hossa on the one hand, and all of these guys on the other.
The clock is ticking and if they can't get past the first and second rounds this year, I don't know how you can assure that Lundqvist would want to stay. There's nothing to suggest that he's incredibly "loyal", as he's never been put in the position of free agency and being super-high demand as he will be next year's offseason.
Because the Rangers have missed the playoffs once since he's been in New York, and that was on the last day of the season. The team is young - Richards is aging, but besides him there really isn't anyone who figures to decline seriously. It's a good team. Chicago and Pittsburgh haven't exactly had a picnic the last two years in the 1st round.
The Rangers haven't had an all-star caliber player (that they didn't sign/overpay for at the middle of his peak) reach the end of their contract, in a long time. They overpay, they've buried or bought out the big contracts (Gomez, Drury, Redden), they make trades (Gaborik), etc. Lundqvist is the first Ranger of his caliber in a long time whose contract will run out, and it will be a real test on Sather to try to keep him if they don't get far in this year's playoffs. There's absolutely nothing on the Rangers' end to suggest that Lundqvist will definitely stay. On the business end of things, and the possibility of joining a contending team, there will be several teams that will be able to peak his interest and compete with Sather to sign him. I would not at all be surprised if he goes elsewhere.
I don't think it will be a test at all. You're assuming that those teams will have money when they have plenty of other problems to deal with before signing an elite goaltender (who, if you go for a short contract, demands $9M per season, and if you go to the 7 year max, demands at least 7.25M per). New York is a draw in itself. There's never been any indication that he wants to leave. The team is good. This is the same kind of talk that Ranger fans would delude themselves with about Brodeur leaving in the late 90s early 00s.
Edited by Triumph, 06 May 2013 - 04:54 PM.