NEW YORK, NY – The hockey world was stunned and saddened when Henrik Lundqvist announced that he would be missing the upcoming NHL season due to a recently discovered heart condition. The Swedish netminder was set to take the ice for the Washington Capitals after the Rangers bought out the last year of his contract.
A message from Henrik: pic.twitter.com/JJDe2lKAXz— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) December 17, 2020
Yesterday’s announcement could mean that Lundqvist, who turns 39 in March, has played his last game in the NHL. The last game of the future Hall-of-Famer’s career was a disappointing 4-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in the playoff qualifying round in August, which was almost as bad as him getting beat twice by Short Matt on Garden ice.
It was the end of a difficult season for the Rangers legend after he lost his starting job to Russian phenom Igor Shesterkin and his backup job to Alexander Georgiev. Hank handled it all with the grace we’ve all come to expect from him. Lundqvist quickly became a fan favorite when he arrived on Broadway in 2005. He made the all-rookie team his first season and was nominated for the Vezina Trophy in his first three seasons. He finally won the award in 2012.
Hank continued his steady play for well over a decade, breaking lots of Rangers records along the way. He leads the franchise in wins (449), playoff wins (61), and shutouts (64). Lundqvist and the Rangers never won the biggest prize, though, Lord Stanley’s Cup. They came close a number of times, losing in the Conference Finals in 2012 and 2015 and losing the 2014 Stanley Cup Final to the Los Angeles Kings. If he has played his last game, his number 30 will be hoisted to the garden rafters in short order. He lived up to his royal moniker throughout his time in New York.
Some tough news I need to share with you all.. pic.twitter.com/y7ZtAoo39Q— Henrik Lundqvist (@hlundqvist35) December 17, 2020
The Blueshirts began to plan for the future when they drafted Shesterkin in 2014 but Lundqvist still had a lot left to give, so Shesterkin stayed in Russia for a few seasons. The King’s last/best chance to win the Cup was in that 2015 Conference Final loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Hank and the Rangers’ play started to decline after that season. Meanwhile, Igor’s play got better and better. The writing was on the wall and Shesterkin came to the US&A for the start of the 2019-20 season and eventually he won the starting job at Hank’s expense in the middle of the COVID-interrupted season.
With no takers on the trade market and no place for Hank on the roster, the Rangers bought out the last year of his contract. The 38-year old free agent signed a 1-year deal with the Washington Capitals. Yesterday’s announcement that he has a heart condition means that there is a good chance his career has come to an end. It is a sad end to the legendary career of The King, despite what Cheesy Bruin says. Hopefully he can make a full recovery.
Speaking of recoveries, come back tomorrow for Short Matt, who is suffering from Chronic Mets Doubt Syndrome. But feel free to comment below in the meantime.