It’s no secret that Henrik Lundqvist is the heart and soul of the New York Rangers organization. However, with an uncertain season ahead, rumours have swirled about the famed goaltender’s future in Manhattan. Despite being the oldest member of the Rangers roster, Lundqvist has made it very clear that he’s not going anywhere and neither is his success.
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Henrik Lundqvist and the Career of a King
Think of the longest job you had. Every day, did you go in and put in 110 percent of your heart and soul? Probably not. Over the last 13 years, Lundqvist has done exactly that. Lundqvist led the Rangers through many successful playoff appearances, including the 2013-14 Stanley Cup Final and 2014-15 President’s Trophy season. Even when his play lagged, his dedication to improvement was painfully apparent. Surrounded by the infamous rebuild of 2018-19, fans and critics called on Lundqvist to jump ship and go win a cup somewhere else. Lundqvist is having none of that. In numerous interviews, Lundqvist continues to tell the press that New York City is his home and being a part of the New York Rangers means an incredible amount to him.
“Being a Ranger and what that means is something that I live,” Lundqvist said to the New York Post.
A New Mindset
Lundqvist is prepared for the turmoil that his “building” team will face this year. It’s how he responds in between the wins and losses that he is focusing on. Remaining aware of the team’s collective mindset and continuing to learn will be the biggest areas of focus for Lundqvist. The youth on the Rangers this season provides a fresh perspective for the long-tenured goaltender and what seems to be a necessary jumpstart after a tumultuous last season. With many of the staffing and personnel questions answers, the King is ready and willing to be an active participant in the Rangers future success. Given the way he’s been performing, this could remain for years and years to come.
When his fellow Blueshirts have performed poorly in front of Lundqvist, he’s reacted poorly in the past. Whether it’s losing his temper and banging his stick or reportedly scolding players in the locker room and yelling at them on the bench. This aggressive behavior likely won’t go away in this current season but from his recent interviews, it certainly seems that patience is the new name of the game for the Swedish sensation. As the foundation of the Rangers organization, Lundqvist will set the strongest example for the new kids and the new coaching staff alike. He’s already surpassed David Quinn‘s expectations.
Excellence is nothing short of expected when Lundqvist steps onto the ice. No one knows this more than Lundqvist himself. Consistently looking for ways to tweak his game, whether it’s stance or positioning, he is always adapting to the game. One way he’s positioned the Rangers for success is with his performance in shootouts. The Rangers have fallen victim to the last minute tally in many games this year, forcing extra time. In the six shootout attempts Lundqvist has faced, he gave up only one goal. Responding well in high-pressure situations like shootouts give your team the best chance at securing the fill two points.
Taking a look at the numbers Lundqvist has performed extremely well this season. His .922 save percentage is directly in line with some of his best years (.920 in 2013-14, .922 in 2014-15). We’re still very early into this season but with Lundqvist’s adaptability at its peak, there’s no reason to believe that he won’t continue to improve across the rest of the season. However, one thing is for sure, Rangers fans should count their blessings that Lundqvist is still wearing red, white and blue between the pipes.