Henrik Lundqvist has retired from hockey.
Lundqvist undoubtedly will go down as the best goaltender of the post-lockout era, and one of the greatest in league history who will one day be inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Some of his accolades include:
- 459 wins
- 64 shutouts
- 27,076 total saves
- 2006 Olympic Gold Medal
- 2014 Olympic Silver Medal
- 2017 World Championship Gold
- 2012-13 Vezina Trophy Winner
- 2011-12 Hart Trophy Finalist
- Five-Time All-Star
- Nine-Time Rangers Team MVP
- Six Consecutive Game 7 Victories
- Only goaltender in NHL history to record 30 wins in each of first seven seasons
- First NHL goaltender to start his career with 11 straight, 20-win seasons
There are many other impressive things associated with Henrik, but I think you get the point.
Lundqvist was a mainstay of the franchise starting with the 2005-06 season, but he was bought out by the team in September of 2020 so that he could pursue opportunities to continue his career and chase a Stanley Cup. He ultimately signed with the Washington Capitals, but never suited up for the team as a result of a heart condition which he ultimately had surgery on.
Lundqvist will also go down as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, players in franchise history. It is hard to adequately describe what he meant to the franchise, and the city at large, but I tried to do as much in a story last October.
I said this in my final report card for Hank, and therefore I won’t restate my words:
He was the backbone of some god awful teams, and dragged many of them kicking and screaming to places they didn’t belong. Had Lundqvist been the beneficiary of some stronger teams, there’s no doubt in my mind he wins a Stanley Cup, at least 500 games, and maybe even challenges Patrick Roy’s 551 wins which is currently No. 2 all-time.
There are many moments we all think about deep down when it comes to many of the runs Lundqvist was at the helm of. It’s hard not to play the what if game, especially when looking back on the Los Angeles series, and a pair of home games in the 2015 Eastern Conference Final vs. Tampa. But I don’t think that is something related to just Lundqvist and this era of Rangers. I’d argue that fans of a certain vintage think the same of Emile Francis’ Rangers who did it all but win too.
Henrik Lundqvist was an amazing player, a generational talent, the face of a city and franchise who did everything but win a championship in a tough team sport that features numerous Hall of Famers who failed to do the same. If and when he eventually finds his new home, it will be hard to see him in a new sweater.
It will take some getting used to, and while this certainly appears to be the end of an era, “don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
This certainly isn’t the way Lundqvist wanted his career to end. It certainly isn’t the way it should have ended. He was a player who gave his all night after night, performing at a level fans haven’t seen before, and he certainly deserved a better fate.
But that wasn’t the case, and while it is certainly sad, there’s a lot to celebrate for Lundqvist and what he accomplished. Here’s to hoping the Rangers don’t drag their feet, and have plans to raise #30 rafters soon, in what assuredly will be a packed and raucous Madison Square Garden.
UPDATE: 10:51 AM
Long live the King.