When does Henrik Lundqvist’s workload become a problem?

henrik lundqvist

As the Rangers get deeper in the dog days of the hockey season, there’s been more and more attention paid to Henrik Lundqvist’s workload. He’s started 23 of 26 games already this season, and is on pace to start 72 games this year. The last time Hank started that many games was the 2009-2010 season.

As Hank ages, remember that he’s 35 already, he will need to get more rest so he can be fresh for any potential playoff run. It’s something that Alain Vigneault has been trying to accomplish for each of the past few seasons. So far, it seems that AV doesn’t have the same faith in Ondrej Pavelec that he’s had in his other backups.

That is the concerning part right now. Pavelec is following a pair of stellar seasons for Antti Raanta, which followed a pair of stellar seasons by Cam Talbot. Both guys earned starting roles elsewhere. Pavelec has been shaky at best to start the season, which has led to Hank starting more.

The good news is that Hank looks exceptionally sharp this season. He’s is putting up a .917 SV% (.925 at evens), which when you look at how bad the Rangers are defensively, is impressive. The Blueshirts have a xGA/60 of 2.85, good for dead last in the league. That’s right, even the Coyotes have better defensive numbers.

All that accounts for Hank sporting a 5.86 GSAA –goals saved above average – basically it takes expected save percentage based on shot quantity, types, and locations/quality against and compares it to actual SV%. The higher the better.– which is good for 6th in the league among starting goalies.

The other good part here is that the Rangers haven’t had a compressed schedule. They’ve been able to start Hank without running him into the ground. At least, not yet. They are going to start seeing more games on the schedule, with a pair of back-to-backs this month, which is part of a rough six games in nine nights.

Hank isn’t (shouldn’t?) play 72 games this season, but Pavelec’s ugly .889 SV% might force their hand. With a need for points to keep up in the dogfight that is the Metro Division, Hank gives them a better chance to win. It’s a problem that hasn’t reared it’s head yet, but it might this month.

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46 thoughts on “When does Henrik Lundqvist’s workload become a problem?

  • Dec 4, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    Pav will play about 3 games in the next 10. Hank is fine, put him out there with a days rest and he will be okay.

  • Dec 4, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Am I in the minority thinking that Pavelec’s numbers are not completely indicative of his ability? Two of his losses were in relief of Hank when they were down multiple goals and came back to tie it only to lose. Although he has not been “good” as compared to Talbot or Antti, I think he would do better with some increased time and a few more starts under his belt. Hank should not continue to play at this pace even with the advantageous schedule. I get that they needed to go with Hank because of the awful start, but so long as they are within a point or 2 of a playoff spot they either need to play Pavelec or waive him and get another guy in there.

    • Dec 4, 2017 at 2:06 pm

      I personally found Pavelec to be a very curious choice given that they potentially had a lot of options to choose from that seemed to be more in the Raanta/Talbot type of mold, both of whom of course were good fits as pupils for Benoit Allaire. While I can’t argue that Pav hasn’t been actually given great chances here so far, I also just don’t feel like he has much of a ceiling even if he was. If they don’t have full confidence in Pavelec…and while nobody can be sure, it doesn’t outwardly seem as though they do…then I concur with you that they should waive him and get another option in there ASAP.

  • Dec 4, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    -Stepan, Raanta, Lindberg +Shatty, Pav, Deangelo, Anderson = this.

    • Dec 4, 2017 at 4:25 pm

      Agree. And articles keep popping up about trading Grabner/Nash, etc. Do you see who we have as our GM making trades? The Staal trade was a disaster and then trading Raanta and Stepan…yikes..DeAngelo stock dropping faster than JC Penny stock! So now we have a huge hole at center, an average backup goalie and Holden playing every night

    • Dec 4, 2017 at 6:10 pm

      Raanta, who didn’t have 82 NHL games in a career, no less than over a season and a half, and who many Ranger fans were pining over to keep instead of Lundqvist, is finally starting this year and has been hurt for 2/3rds of the season so far.

      Talbot, who many Ranger fans were pining to keep instead of Lundqvist, is starting his third season as a starter, and has been pt on injured reserve.

      Lundqvist has had injuries, no question, but given his workload, including playoffs ans stupid preseason world tournaments, I think he’s played at a very high level for a very long time.

      Not saying this to you but only responding because you mentioned Raanta.

      • Dec 4, 2017 at 8:05 pm

        And Hank’s “injuries” on the whole have been of the “fluky, caused by his own team” variety. He doesn’t seem particularly susceptible to the lbi’s that plague a lot of goalies. He is remarkably durable for a guy who has played so many games over so many years.

        • Dec 4, 2017 at 8:27 pm

          Very true, except for his temporary knee issues years ago.

  • Dec 4, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    I guess I’ll put this here since I just read it over at NHL. com. Matt Moulson is on waivers. Zero points in 14 games this year but has three 30 goal seasons under his belt I believe. He’s in year 4 of a 5 year 25 mil contract. He’s a winger, when we really need a center, but would you take a flyer on him?

    • Dec 4, 2017 at 3:01 pm

      Think I would rather try to pry away Evander Kane. Yes it will cost more, but he is a better fit for us and Buffalo is beginning to combust

      • Dec 4, 2017 at 3:42 pm

        I can deal with that, but Buffalo wants kids in return. In your opinion, who do think it will take to get Kane on Bway?

        • Dec 4, 2017 at 4:21 pm

          Give them DeAngelo and a 3rd rounder. AV will never play him anyway.

          • Dec 4, 2017 at 9:31 pm

            Bill Belicheck would convert him to a winger. But that is why the Patriots have 5 Super Bowl wings.

            • Dec 4, 2017 at 10:26 pm

              Bill Belichick won five Super Bowls because he has hands down the greatest QB of all time. Amazing how “ingenuous” he became with a talent like that.

      • Dec 4, 2017 at 5:09 pm

        We don’t really need another Winger… Would cost us way too much for Kane anyway.. And like I said we don’t really need another Winger… Just my opinion.

      • Dec 4, 2017 at 6:20 pm

        Creature, I have been on the Kane bandwagon for 2 years now. He is Chris Kreider with a MEAN STREAK!! He is available, if it takes D’angelo, and a pick and some $$$, GO FOR IT!! This team has no one close to Kane, he does all the necessary things that make him difficult to play against. The fact that he will drop the gloves ( he was named after the boxer Evander Holyfield) is a bonus, name me one current NY Ranger ( other than Brandon Smith) , who will drop the gloves. Team is way TOO SOFT!

        • Dec 4, 2017 at 6:57 pm

          Yes….and as we know, dropping the gloves in the modern day NHL is critical to a team’s success. I mean, look at how many teams Kane has led to the brink of the Stanley Cup? Oh wait…..

          Would you believe a playoff round or two? Uh…no?

          How about he’s NEVER been on a playoff team. NOT…EVEN…ONCE.

          Once again my friend, you are totally overrating him and what players like him bring to the table in the MODERN NHL, not the league you seem to prefer to time travel to that no longer exists.

        • Dec 4, 2017 at 6:59 pm

          Also, unfortunately about Evander, he plays well in contract ending years and ordinary in non-contract ending years.

          No thanks. Now, Wayne Simmonds? Yes please.

          • Dec 4, 2017 at 7:11 pm

            Yes indeed Richter…right with you. Can’t imagine the Flyers would ever trade him to the Rangers though.

            • Dec 4, 2017 at 7:26 pm

              Very true, the Flyers would not, but that’s a guy that I would want that fits this mold.

        • Dec 4, 2017 at 7:17 pm

          Have to come to the aid of BobbyB. You are all criticizing him with the same singlemindedness of which you accuse him. I hope I speak for him when I say he is not advocating Kane or anyone else SOLELY for their physicality. Neither he nor I are Neanderthals for advocating for some nasty, some intensity, which leads to the necessity of backing it up when necessary, or when it is used by the other team to injure or intimidate your players. C’mon guys, its an old rap you are laying on him. All sports, in fact life in general as well, have elements of intimidation and protection of assets. Maybe Kane, maybe others, but this team remains vanilla, passive, soft and uninspiring. Plus, you really want Kreider dropping the gloves and as the only option for that other than maybe Smith, other than when absolutely necessary?

          • Dec 4, 2017 at 7:30 pm

            That’s fair RJ, but I think both you and Bobby are overstating the need and the chacterization of the Rangers. Didn’t Montreal try and “out-physical the Rangers last year? Did it work? No. What level of intimidation or protection have other recent SC Champions or runner-ups had in recent years? Haven’t they all won by doubling down on speed and skill more than anything else.

            I’ve been hearing forever that the Rangers are too soft. Sorry, not buying that at all. To me, it’s largely a myth created in the wake of the Rolfe-Schultz fight from 43 years ago that refuses to fade from memory.

            Kane is a good player. I’m not against a player like him being acquired. But man, his reputation is not a very good one. Is that the kind of player the Rangers want to bring into the organization?

            • Dec 4, 2017 at 10:29 pm

              Eddie, at least we both agree that Kane can play the NHL game on an elite level. Yes, he has baggage, but so did Rick Middleton ( he liked to party too much!!, remember that line, he liked the night life too much??? ) and Phil Kessel too. We both know what a difference they made in Boston & Pittsburgh. So we have the opportunity to go after Kane ( he is available) I am all in!! and so should the Rangers ( Paging Jeff Gorton). You mentioned the Montreal series last year, did you see the constant onslaught that Matt Zuccarello had to deal with. Of course Zucc gave it right back to them, but when one of your best skilled players ( who happens to be 5’7 ) is constantly targeted and pounded, well a message needed to be sent, none was!. What is wrong with acquiring a cage rattler ( remember when we got Sean Avery) who can play every aspect of the game , as well as FIGHT when called upon!!!

              • Dec 4, 2017 at 10:40 pm

                I never said he can play the game at an elite level. Patrick Kane plays at elite level. Evander Kane is a good player, but hardly elite.

                Middleton and Kessel’s transgressions pale in comparison to what Kane has been accused of doing. It’s not even remotely the same.

                As for Sean Avery, again, another player who’s presence had very little to do with advancing deep into the playoffs. We might like his energy, but Avery was yet another sideshow type player who had little to do with winning games, especially in post-season.

          • Dec 4, 2017 at 10:10 pm

            Rjcy, thanks for kudos, Kane can SCORE, skate, hit and fight, and will not allow a teammate to be taken advantage of. Who else on the Rangers has that pedigree?? What is wrong with having a guy on the bench who has a presence that lets the opposition know, that running Hank or Zucc will be dealt with severe consequences.

            • Dec 4, 2017 at 10:23 pm


              This is a guy who was accused of assault back in 2014. The next year he was suspended because of an “incident’ with his teammates. The next year he was charged with grabbing three women during an altercation. This is a BAD guy who apparently has had issues with his teammates. Unlike Tanner Glass or even your boy, Minor League McIlrath both of whom were well thought off by their Rangers teammates, I suspect Kane would be a poor fit here and could ruin the dynamics of the room.

              Again, his next playoff game will be his first. Somehow, I don’t think that’s just a coincidence. He’s a side show guy on losing teams. That’s it.

              • Dec 4, 2017 at 10:39 pm

                Triple E, we will always agree to disagree, 🙂 see my prior reply to you, I am feeling it! Great books to read : 1) We Did Everything But Win By Emile Francis. 2) Shift Work by Tie Domi ( would have become a Ranger Legend, I put that in my top 5 worse trades in Ranger history) 3) Ice Capades by Sean Avery.

        • Dec 4, 2017 at 7:34 pm

          Might be just what we need ….a lot of toughness……only 26 years old…….and besides he LEADS the sabres with 24 points and 12 goals and a very respectable plus-minus[-3] on a terrible sabre team….would fit in great on wing and maybe inspire the rest of the team to get tough!!!!!!!!!!!
          No way they give him up for deangelo and a pick unless its maybe 2 #1’s………heck the lunatic sather gave up 2- number ones and callahan for 38 year old ? st louis……..kane should fetch much more….if even available……

          • Dec 4, 2017 at 7:47 pm

            A mediocre Cally and two number ones (that TB then valued so much that they traded away) for a future HOFer? You mean the trade that gave us the most exciting playoff run since 1994, followed by the best regular season performance in decades, only to be derailed by a fluky myriad of injuries? You mean that trade? The players in that room still are in awe of MSL. I think they still miss him quite frankly.

            I’d do that trade again in ten seconds. It was well worth the gamble. Almost worked.

            • Dec 4, 2017 at 7:51 pm

              Yeah, I don’t know what the issue with that trade was. TB did s a favor taking an overrated 3rd liner away from us and keeping us from signing him to a ridiculous contract.

            • Dec 4, 2017 at 8:16 pm

              No way, I do that again! Loved MSL but after his playoff run, not a lot happened. Unfortunately Cally had same #s in regular season the next year as MSL.

              Plus we gave up 2 #1 picks!!!! You are crazy to do that trade again, with all due respect.

              PS—I do love that Cally has sucked the last few years though at Tampa…

              • Dec 4, 2017 at 8:28 pm

                There is no cost too big to make the SCF. And we do not make it that far without MSL.

              • Dec 4, 2017 at 8:42 pm

                100% correct Richter. To quote the famous line from a Steve Winwood song, “When you see a chance, you take it”.

            • Dec 4, 2017 at 9:34 pm

              ”’The players in that room still are in awe of MSL.”’
              IN awe of what???? By the time he got here he was done!!!!!
              You would do that trade again…….because you are nuts……when we stop trying to win EVERY FREAKEN YEAR”’ and build a team the right way then , and only then might we win a cup!!!!!
              He scored a whopping 16 even strength goals for us in 93 regular season games…..compare that to what Jagr brought to us!!!!!!!!!!!

              • Dec 4, 2017 at 10:04 pm

                Sorry my friend….you are wrong.

                Once the 2014 playoffs got going, he was a beast. He was the second leading scorer on the team, and the leading goal scorer. That’s your idea of done? If the Rangers had won that series, MSL would have certainly been in the running for the Conn Smythe.

                He also got off to a strong start in the first half of the 2014-15 season. But as I recall, he hurt his knee, then once he came back, he was a shell of himself. No doubt come the 2015 playoffs, he was essentially done.

                You are a fascinating fan. You fawn over guys who have done very little like your “elite beasts” like Miller and Hayes who have been playoff busts year after year, and Kreider last year as well. But playoff studs like Hank or MSL, you have little use for. In one post you argue that we should never have traded for DeAngelo and Andersson because you want to win now and who needs those guys when we already had the same player as Andersson in Lindberg (even though Lindberg has been abysssmal the past five weeks, but I digress), but now you state you would have preferred to build for the future and not go for it in 2014, even though any team in the Rangers position certainly would have done the same thing.

                Ahhh….the usual roller coaster ride on the Captain Hyperbole Cyclone. Hang on everyone…..we have no idea where he will be going nexxxxxxxttttttttttttt!

          • Dec 4, 2017 at 9:20 pm

            Props for his HOF career but by the time he got here it was over…..decent playoffs UNTIL he got to the finals….the kings absolutely manhandled him…… 2 points in 5 games……1PP and one even str. goal…..
            The following year in the playoffs he produced the absolute worst playoff performance I have ever seen by a NY Ranger in 47 years of watching!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
            Never seen a player give up the puck to the opposing team [ tampa] as much as I saw St Louis do it…..an embarrassment ……retired one year too late……

          • Dec 4, 2017 at 10:13 pm

            Spot on Rich S, put an Evander Kane & maybe a Josh Manson on this Ranger team and all of a sudden, you have a team that no one will want to face in the playoffs.

            • Dec 4, 2017 at 10:29 pm

              Right…they will all be in quaking in their boots. And laughing when either one takes some stupid penalty that costs us a playoff game and a series.

            • Dec 5, 2017 at 6:31 am

              Both very good players but thinking that this will make up for the major hole at center is not correct, IMO.

              Manson is a very underrated player among most hockey fans.

  • Dec 4, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    So trade for a backup better than Pavelec. Shouldn’t have to give up too much for one… Now we have big needs at center and Backup for Hank… It’s about time for the front office to step up… We’re all waiting…

  • Dec 4, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    I expressed my concern in pre-season that Pavelec would likely not duplicate the stellar play that Raanta and Talbot previously provided. To me, it just wasn’t realistic.

    That being said, I would not at all conclude that AV doesnt trust Pavelec. First of all, when Hank was struggling, didnt he start Pavelec in two straight games in October? And should we really judge Pavelec on any of his stats thus far since most of it took place during the time that the Rangers play was a train wreck?

    To me, the reason Hank has played so much is two fold. First, the bad start combined with the the strong play of many teams in the division put the Rangers in “must-win” mode. So Hank had to play a lot, and he has been spectacular. But second, the schedule was incredibly favorable and allowed Hank to play a lot. That’s all about to change. After tomorrow’s game, the Rangers play six games in nine nights. AV said today that Pavelec will start at least two of those games. So I think we will see plenty of Pavelec moving forward.

    Still, this is going to be quite a race this season to earn a playoff spot in what is looking like the most intense divisional race we’ve ever seen. Circumstances may force AV’s hand and force him to play The King more than originally planned. We shall see.

    • Dec 4, 2017 at 7:28 pm

      Nailed it.

  • Dec 4, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    The report from practice was somwheat encouraging regarding Mika. AV reported that he was riding the stationary bike with a “big smile on his face”. I seem to recall the same thing happened with Staal last year…once he was on the bike, his return was not too far away.

    Now, I will not even attempt to play doctor here, because we are dealing with a concussion. But IF (just if) he has no setbacks from the bike excercise, can keep working out in the days ahead, MAYBE (just maybe) we MIGHT (just might) see Mika back sooner rather than later.

    When it comes to concussions, that’s as far as anyone can really go.

    Also, did you all hear about Chytil? He suffered a cervical strain and is day to day. Hopefully not a serious or lingering issue for him.

    • Dec 4, 2017 at 7:29 pm

      Hopefully for both situations: PHEW

  • Dec 4, 2017 at 9:41 pm

    I believe I heard Henk say in a interview that he’s better when he plays more. He’s always been a workhorse, so go with what works. If it doesn’t pan out…well I guess the Rangers will be sellers at the trade deadline.

  • Dec 5, 2017 at 11:09 am

    Our schedule (very low number of back2back games, extremely light travel) has allowed the Rangers the opportunity to ride Hank for the 1st two months. 12 game schedule in November without one back to back game nights makes Hank starting all those games look worse than it is.

    There is nothing at this point to be concerned about, other than we still have not seen what Pav’s can do as a “regular backup” for us yet. Look for him to start vs NJ and B’s the next 2 Saturdays and Hank is right back to a 65 game pace.

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