Henrik Lundqvist made it very clear a few weeks ago. The New York Rangers born and raised star goaltender would not negotiate a contract extension if the two sides failed to agree to new terms before the season started. He considered negotiating during the season a "distraction."
Well, the season starts on Thursday. And right or wrong, Lundqvist is entitled to that opinion. It's a popular one amongst some players, and it shouldn't surprise you that Lundqvist -- the king of focus and concentration -- doesn't want to deal with the stress during the year.
First off, Henrik Lundqvist said again there was nothing new to report in negotiations for a new contract extension, with a potential deadline on the talks coming with the start of the season, Thursday at Phoenix. Lundqvist said on Sunday the sides would talk at least once more before the team left for Arizona.
The good news? The Rangers and Lundqvist will be speaking again, potentially as soon as today. The bad news? We don't know how far apart the two sides are or how deep they are in the negotiations. The Rangers have done a masterful job of keeping their negotiations internal. The team surprised everyone by announcing Carl Hagelin's new contract, there wasn't a peep leaked about Derek Stepan's negotiations until the very end and we didn't even know that much about the Ryan McDonagh talks, either. Mats Zuccarello's were more public, but even those were quiet compared to most.
My point? The Rangers might be close with Lundqvist, they might not be. We'd really never know, especially with the level of silence we've seen this offseason.
Speculation ran wild earlier in the Summer that Lundqvist wanted out of New York thanks to some cryptic comments concerning his willingness to negotiate a new deal. Those comments were largely taken out of proportion, to an even bigger extent once John Tortorella was fired. But Lundqvist himself refuted the claims he was on his way out. He also squashed any belief he was behind Tortorella's firing.
Why am I bringing this up? Because if Lundqvist and the Rangers don't agree to a new deal before the season begins the "Henrik Lundqvist is leaving New York" machine will ramp up it's volume to annoying decibels. Try to block out that white noise if we get there.