Henrik Lundqvist, Alexandar Georgiev, Igor Shesterkin
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

The King of Rangerstown, Henrik Lundqvist, has begun his role as New York Rangers’ goaltender mentor earlier than expected. 

Frank Curto

New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has had an incredible run as the organization’s No. 1 goalie for 15 years.

The emergence of Alexandar Georgiev and Igor Shesterkin (for the past two weeks) has brought a new role to the leader of this team—an eventual role that was believed to be a least one more season away.

The King has now become a mentor.

Jan. 11 was the last time Henrik played in an NHL game. Since Georgiev took the startling role against the Islanders on Tuesday night, the next matchup Lundqvist could play in would be Friday, Jan. 31.

Twenty days between starts without an injury to justify the amount of time off the ice is the current situation at hand.

The King does, indeed, have value and a new, important role added to his famous resume. He’s become a mentor to the Russian duo of Georgiev and Shesterkin. Not just a player to ask questions, but someone who’s been in the same situations for 882 games.

With the unusual announcement that the team would go with a three-goalie rotation two weeks ago, Hank has been mentoring the goalies more than he’s shown them what to do during live games.

David Quinn in an unprestigious position

Head coach David Quinn is in his second season behind the Rangers bench. He’ll undoubtedly be remembered for one monumental position in the near future.

All-in-all, Quinn will be the coach that orchestrated the removal of the face of the franchise.

The King has great value to the club and coaching staff, which was noted by Quinn, via Vince C. Mercogliano of Loud.com.

The quote was off of a question of why, in a three-goalie rotation, does Lundqvist never find himself dressed in one of his expensive suits on game days?

The situation may be a hard pill to swallow for Henrik, but is not a surprise. He’s more than just a hockey player in the biggest sports market in the world.

Henrik is a businessman, and the best business move the club can make right now is to play the younger goalies in front of him.

Look at how the last two weeks have played out since Shesterkin’s recall:

Since Jan. 4, Shesterkin has started three games, Georgiev has started two, and Hank has started one. The club is 4-2, with Shesterkin dropping the loss to Columbus on Sunday and Hank losing to St. Louis on Jan. 11.

The common factor in all six games is Lundqvist. He’s suited up for all six contests and will on Tuesday night when Georgiev starts against the Islanders at Madison Square Garden.

The King’s responsibility to mentor the two has not been overlooked. There are two questions that are needed to be asked as a result of the changing of the guard in New York.

  1. Does the King want to be a mentor right now?
  2. Is this how he wants to be remembered while heading to retirement next year?

Lundqvist is a competitor, but he’s also loyal. He knows what his role is now and what it will be as his contract and career near an end.

The King will do what’s best for club less a trade

Lundqvist has made it known, good or bad, that he wants to finish his career a Ranger. His $8.5 million price tag leaves a bitter taste in the fan’s mouth. Nonetheless, he has earned the right to want to stay in New York.

He will do whatever the club asks of him, including mentoring the new kids in net. Needless to say, his salary makes that job a little easier, but, nevertheless, an important one.

Simply speaking, there is no other player in franchise history who is more entitled to end his career in New York then Henrik Lundqvist.

A graduate of St. John's University class of '91. I have been a fan of the New York Rangers since the days of Peter Puck. Founder of Ranger Proud, the Facebook page that covers all news, notes, pre /post-game stats, and player quotes. I can be reached at Nyrfc12@gmail.com