Henrik Lundqvist showed a wide smile Monday night when he said the thought of remaining the Rangers' goaltender for the remainder of his career excites him and added contract discussions have started.
The 31-year-old franchise goaltender is entering the final year of a six-year, $41.25 million contract with training camp set to begin in less than a month.
"We're talking," Lundqvist said. "The good thing, though, is that we have another year so there's no pressure to get it done. But we're definitely talking, and we'll see where it leads. So far it's been a great time in New York and I don't see any reasons to leave."
It's conceivable the Rangers could offer the 2012 Vezina Trophy winner the maximum eight-year contract extension and make him at least the NHL's highest-paid goaltender. His current $6.875 million annual cap hit is just below Nashville's Pekka Rinne's ($7 million).
Lundqvist opted to not discuss his preferred length of a potential new contract or dollar amount on Monday. But he did add that, "there's more to just money in this," adding that it matters who surrounds the King in the Rangers' kingdom in years to come.
After spending the majority of the offseason in his native Sweden, Lundqvist was across the street from Madison Square Garden at Local West Café, where Wimbledon champion Andy Murray announced his participation in the seventh annual BNP Paribas Showdown on March 3.
Because he was overseas, Lundqvist said he has communicated only with new Rangers coach Alain Vigneault, who replaced John Tortorella, via email earlier in the summer, and added, "It'll be interesting to see the changes he puts in place."
After his disappointment of the Rangers being eliminated in the second round by the Boston Bruins last season, Lundqvist said he is ready to get back on the ice, starting Sept. 11 with training camp.
"As a group, it's always enthusing to see what a new coach can do,'' he said. "But for me as a goalie, it doesn't really change; I approach the game the same way. With the guys we have right now, I think we are in the right direction and I'm anxious to get back on the ice."
Assistant general manager Jeff Gorton told reporters earlier this month, "Henrik wants to be here and we want Henrik. At the end of the day, it shouldn't be too difficult to get a deal."
With a look toward the direction of Madison Square Garden, Lundqvist seemingly agreed with Gorton's assessment of the situation.
"I love it here, I really do," said Lundqvist, who lives in Manhattan. "There's a few things we have to discuss, but like I keep telling everyone, I've had such a great time in New York with the way the fans have treated me and with the challenge to be here, I just love that part. We'll see what happens but it will be fun to stay."