Corey Crawford and His Effect on the Sanity of Ranger Fans

Once Corey Crawford signed his $36 million / 6 year deal with the Hawks, seemingly every Ranger fan jumped to the conclusion that Lundqvist’s next contract will be worth about a billion dollars annually. Today, Sportsnet joined the fun as well.

I can see the point. Crawford is a mid-carding goalie who found himself in a great situation in Chicago and is getting paid handsomely for it. If Crawford were the sole comparable, Lundqvist’s salary should be a rather large number. But what if you compared it to players who are, you know, actually his peer?

Pekka Rinne got $7 million per for 7 years (as did Tuukka Rask)
Jonathan Quick got $5.8 million per for 10 years ($7 million per for the first 7 seasons)
Sergei Bobrovsky got $5.625 million per for 2 years
Carey Price got $6.5 million per for 6 years

Any amount Lundqvist gets over $7 million annually will make him the highest paid goalie of all time. The Rangers should expect to do so, but to exceed it by 15% — as the $8 million per, 8 year deal I’ve heard suggested all too many times would be? That’s a bit much for me.

There’s also been some suggestion that Lundqvist, as the team’s best player, should be its highest paid as well. That would place his new cap-hit north of Rick Nash’s $7.8 million. I take issue with that logic. Rick Nash’s contract expires at age 34. If Lundqvist wants a contract that expires at age 34 (which would be a 2 year deal), I would gladly give him north of $7.8 million. But he will likely be looking for a contract at least three times that length, taking him well into his late 30s.

What the Rangers can do, which none of Nashville, Boston, or Montreal did, is heavily front-load the contract to lessen the overall cap-hit for Lundqvist. A contract like this one would stretch the limits of the new CBA:

Season Age Salary Cap Hit
2014-15 32      9,500,000           7,320,833
2015-16 33      9,500,000           7,320,833
2016-17 34      9,500,000           7,320,833
2017-18 35      6,175,000           7,320,833
2018-19 36      5,000,000           7,320,833
2019-20 37      4,250,000           7,320,833

If Lundqvist needs a bigger contract, he’ll have to wait for it, in what would be a game of chicken more exciting than a Sabres jersey unveiling.

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