The New York Rangers franchise goaltender Henrik Lundqvist had the opportunity to be moved at the trade deadline, but declined the offer.
Henrik Lundqvist, the 36-year-old leader of the New York Rangers, had the opportunity to leave the team and bypass what could be a painfully long rebuilding process. He declined the offer, as he wanted to be part of the rebuild to get the Blueshirts another opportunity at a Stanley Cup.
The startling confirmation that the organization indeed asked the King what he would like to do came in an article written by Larry Brooks of the New York Post. Jim Dolan told Brooks,
“We told Hank that if he didn’t want to ride it out through this process, we’d find a good landing place for him,” Dolan said during a conversation at his MSG office. “But he said that he wanted to stay and see it through.”
Lundqvist’s dedication and loyalty to the Rangers is undeniable. The man knows he only has a few seasons left to get a Stanley Cup. He could have gone the way of Ray Bourque, who took the opportunity to leave Boston and win a Cup with Colorado to end his career. Instead, he wants to try to finish what he started with the Rangers.
Dolan went on to say,
“I’m very happy that’s the way he feels. I think with him at the top of his game, that gives us our best chance of competing for a playoff spot next year.”
Henrik carries the team on his back this season. He finished the season with a record of 26-26-7, with a .915 save percentage, and a 2.98 goals against average. This included an incredible stretch of hockey as he took the Rangers on an 18-8-2 run with a .932 save percentage and 2.32 GAA from November through Jan. 20. That included a win in the Winter Classic over the Buffalo Sabres on Jan. 1.
Unfortunately for Lundqvist and the Rangers, he was not able to save the team from drowning in their own mistakes. Poor starts, turnovers, and overall bad hockey cost Henrik a shot at another 30-win season and subsequently a playoff spot.
Jim Dolan and Henrik Lundqvist appear to be where they want to be at this point in the rebuild. Dolan wanted a strong goaltender to get the team back to the postseason and Lundqvist wanted another opportunity to win it all as a Ranger.
Both can not afford to be wrong. Fans sure hope they both know what they are doing.