The King of New York’s reign ends after 15-years
By: Sabrina Benet
As the trades continued, hope was building for New York Ranger fans. More cap-space kept the possibility of keeping 38-year old goalie Henrik Lundqvist open. On September 29th, the NYR bought out Lundqvist after 15-years.
The NYR have been riding with three NHL goalies on their roster; Igor Shesterkin, Alexandar Georgiev and Henrik Lundqvist. After Shesterkin was moved up from the AHL during the 2019-20 season, there was a lot more pressure applied to make a decision on who to trade. With no goaltender traded at the deadline, questions rose regarding the fate of Lundqvist with the team.
At the time of buy-out, Lundqvist had one year remaining on his seven year deal, a $59.5 million dollar contract. The NYR will save $3 million in cap space since buying him out. This buy-out led to the end of Lundqvist’s 15-year long career with the team.
His debut with the NYR came on October 8th, 2005, against the rival New Jersey Devils. Lundqvist soon after became the team’s starting goalie and throughout his time in New York, Henrik, or Hank, as he was known, became a household name and the face of the Rangers franchise.
Lundqvist was drafted in the 7th round of the 2005 draft by the New York Rangers. Despite being 205th overall, his career exploded into something indescribable.
He played 887 regular season games within 15 years,and was able to win the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goaltender in 2012, along with an additional four nominations, which all occured in his rookie year. He leaves the NYR as the franchise’s all-time leader in wins and shutouts, as well as sixth-all time in wins in NHL history. Lundqvist left the team with a save percentage of .918.
Along with his work on the ice, his work off the ice will never go unrecognized. Henrik has been a spokesperson for The Garden of Dreams, a non-profit organization affiliated with Madison Square Garden since 2009. The organization helps children who face adversity in their lives.
In 2015, the Henrik Lundqvist Foundation was founded with a mission to raise money to positively impact and create positive change in the lives of struggling children and adults through health and education services. The foundation partnered with The Garden of Dreams along with others in the community.
Along with working with community partners such as New York Presbyterian Children’s Hospitals and The Garden of Dreams, he had created an ambassador program as well. Lundqvist and wife Therese created this program because they believe that our youth needs to be the educated and upcoming leaders of our world.
Henrik Lundqvist is a cherished member of the New York community and has left his footprint on both the game and the city forever. After the buy-out on September 29th, teammates took to social media to wish their friend and beloved teammate well on his future endeavors.
“It’s been difficult to put words on all of this,” teammate Mika Zibanejad said. “I want to thank you for everything you’ve done for this city, organization, and for me. I have always looked up to you and being able to have been your teammate and call you my friend is something I’ll cherish forever and be forever grateful for. Thank you a million times.”
Lundqvist also took to social media after the announcement.
“Representing this organization has been the biggest source of pride and joy in my life,” Lundqvist said. “I’m so grateful for the opportunity, for the friendships, and for all the great memories created wearing the red, white, and blue. I will always cherish my time as a Ranger.”
Henrik’s last appearance as a New York Ranger was on August 3rd, 2020 in Game 2 of the Stanley cup playoffs.
His passion, spirit and drive will never be forgotten. Thank you Henrik Lundqvist for everything you have done for the organization, community, and for positivity impacting thousands of lives.