GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- With the puck set to drop on the Rangers’ 2013-14 season Thursday in Phoenix, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is removing himself from contract discussions.
That doesn’t mean he is putting a halt to the negotiations between his camp and the organization -- the two sides are working toward a multiyear extension -- but he is distancing himself from the situation to clear his focus.
Earlier in training camp, Lundqvist said he would cut off talks should they become a distraction, though it has not come to that yet.
“If they continue to talk, the Rangers and my agent, so be it, but for me personally, I’m not going to get involved,” Lundqvist said after practice Wednesday. “I’m not going to talk to my agent right now. All I care about is to play well and help this team to win.”
Though the Rangers wish to lock up their franchise netminder -- the team’s most consistent performer several years running -- and Lundqvist is due a significant pay bump from the $6.875 million he’s earning this year, that concern will take a back seat.
“The King” is in line to earn a king’s ransom, a max contract that will likely be on par with fellow elite players Evgeni Malkin, Claude Giroux and, most recently, Phil Kessel, but he doesn’t impart any sense of urgency now that the season is about to begin.
The former Vezina Trophy winner just wants to help his team win.
“That’s all I care about right now,” he said.