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07-15-2013, 06:21 AM
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But what's more striking about this is that teams are now paying elite goaltenders like they do elite forwards, which is something we haven't really seen before with a few exceptions. Most notable of these is Ward, whose $6.3 million cap hit was more ludicrous then than it is today, and that's saying something. Goaltenders tended to get something more akin to what good second-line forwards pulled, as well as non-elite No. 1 defensemen.
This is the way the world is headed, and it's as simple as that. Expectations that the cap will continue to rise into the $80 million range within the next three or four seasons will make these a little easier to bear, but you have to imagine Henrik Lundqvist, who's currently 31, is looking at these Rask and Rinne deals and imagining which borough of New York he'll buy when his extension comes in.

He has a far better and longer track record than the two previous big-money goalies and, despite his age, is likely a far more crucial part of the Rangers going forward than either of the guys to whom his agent will be comparing him in negotiations with rubber-stampin' Glen Sather. That's especially true because he'll be living under a much larger cap than the one currently in place, potentially as much as 10 percent higher, in fact.

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