There shouldn’t be any suspense about this. If the Rangers were actually a class of, say, 8th graders, Henrik Lundqvist’s marks would allow him to skip high school, head straight to college, graduate in one year, and get a job as King.
So here we are.
The Numbers: SA: 1944 (+615)* SV: 1788 (+ 562) SV% .920 (-.002) GAA 2.48 (+ .23)
(All numbers courtesy of Hockey Reference. Statistics at even strength; change from last season in parentheses)
*No, this season wasn’t THAT bad. The throat injury, remember?
Yes, there were some missteps, but let’s face it, there should have been murders. In spite of a defense notorious for its inefficiency, expense, and apparent permanence, Lundqvist somehow managed to end the regular season with the same save percentage he had in 2013-2014. (You know, when they ... oh, never mind.) He also faced more shots and made more saves than any other goalie in the league.
Now, when your elite goaltender gets shelled more than anyone else, especially from high danger areas, it might – MIGHT – be time to reassess your defense. So far this summer, however, it’s still status quo, just minus Keith Yandle. Asked for comment, Lundqvist responded:
We won’t talk about the playoffs – except that we have to, because that one sad little round showed exactly how bad the Rangers can be when Lundqvist isn’t poised perfectly at the top of his game. He’s 34, playing behind a team that not only doesn’t protect him, but also has tried twice to decapitate him. How great can he be, and for how long?
Hank’s clock is ticking, yet nothing is changing. If The Hague shifted its focus to goaltending, Sather and Gorton would be on trial right now.
Grade: A with a smiley face sticker