The Rangers future defense has a certain Swedish prospect by the name of Nils Lundkvist on it. Selected 28th overall, he is another potential star from the 2018 Draft. Vitali Kravtsov (9) and K’Andre Miller (22) were also chosen in that first round which may go down as one of the Blueshirts best ever.
What many want to know right now is when will Lundkvist be coming over from Sweden?
This question is being asked more and more in light of Tony DeAngelo’s two consecutive scratches. It’s one thing to take a young kid and bench them to teach them a lesson, but there’s more going on here than just a penalty box door slam for #77.
At just 20 years-old, Lundkvist is not only hanging with the men in the SHL, but thriving. He has nine goals and 12 assists for 21 points on the year. Nils is tied for first in goals and eight in points in the league. Thriving indeed.
In 31 SHL games for Lulea on the season he has 97 shots (3.12 per game) and a plus-seven rating while averaging 20:30 of ice time. That means he isn’t being sheltered or kept from the opposition’s best players.
Lundkvist also leads his team in shots on goal by 16 shots. When it comes to his PP prowess, Lulea looks to him to lead the way and he’s delivered with 4 PP goals which ties him for first on the team. Remember, he is a defenseman.
For his SHL career, his 67 points are the third-most by an SHL defenseman while in his U21 season or younger in league history, and his 42 career SHL assists are tied for the third-most by an SHL defenseman while in his U21 season or younger as well.
Note: Statistics provided by NYR PR
Forever Blueshirts has confirmed through sources with Lulea, that the deal he signed in July was with the understanding he would play the entire season. A season that does not end until March with another 7 weeks of playoffs if Lulea goes all the way.
So regardless of what the Rangers opt to do with Tony DeAngelo, which includes moving him to the left-side again or a trade, it is unlikely we will see Nils Lundkvist this season.
Of course, there’s still a chance. But in order for that to happen, the Rangers can’t simply call him over as they wish. It would first require Lulea to agree to let him go. Then the Swedish National Team needs to do the same. That’s two hurdles to jump.
Still if the Rangers and Lundkvist both wanted it to happen, I’m sure something could be worked out. The question is, will it be worth it? Remember, there would be no slide to his ELC, so the Rangers would burn a year on it for a handful of games.
It would likely be in the Rangers’ best financial interest to sign him to his ELC in the offseason and get the full 3 year benefit of cost control. On the flip side, getting Lundkvist on this blue-line and into action could expedite the team’s timetable to Cup contention.
Just like anything, there are pros and cons. All must be weighed, but for now don’t expect to see Lundkvist until next season. And let there be no doubt about his desire to play here next year. Sources confirmed with us that’s his every intent.