2019 Rangers Player Report Card: Henrik Lundqvist

Of all the players on the roster, Henrik Lundqvist’s report card was the one I was least looking forward to. It has nothing to do with the generational talent who has been the undeserved target of irrational hate, but because at 37 years old, I know he’s either in his decline or about to begin his decline, and that stinks.

On paper, looking at just GAA and SV%, this was Lundqvist’s worst statistical season of his career. Lundqvist went 18-23-10 with a 3.07 GAA and a .907 SV% in 52 starts. This season ended his run of seasons with 20+ wins at 13 straight seasons to start his career. His streak of 30+ win seasons ended last season at 11 (not including the lockout year). It is no coincidence that the Rangers were also quite terrible for the past two seasons.

We have some expanded metrics used to evaluate goalies, and one of them is GSAA (goals saved above average). It takes into account the quality of shots faced, not just the number of shots faced like SV%. Lundqvist, unfortunately, came in at 37th in this category (of goalies with 1000 minutes played) with a GSAA of -4.91. In terms of GSAx (goals saved above expected), which takes into account GSAA but also expected saves, Lundqvist was again in the bottom of the league with a -7.51, 35th in the league. As much as we hate to admit it, this matches what we saw on the ice. Lundqvist had a rough year.

For a graphical representation of starting goalies and how they fared, Sean Tierney does the work better than everyone else. This wasn’t needed, but it helps show that Lundqvist again had an off year. There’s no way around it, no matter how much most of us want to look the other way. It’s also worth noting that Lundqvist had a rough World’s as well.

Lundqvist has this year and next left on his $8.5 million contract. With how well Alex Georgiev played last season, it is expected that the workload will be split more evenly, with Lundqvist possibly slowly taking on the backup role. As he gets older, rest is more important, but it’s also important to develop the next wave of youth.

Grade: C

"2019 Rangers Player Report Card: Henrik Lundqvist", 3 out of 5 based on 8 ratings.
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  1. Agree on the grade Dave…He is 37…he can’t play forever. He needs to look in the mirror and see whats going on with the rebuild and realize it doesn’t include him. Georgie is the better goalie right now

  2. “There’s no way around it, no matter how much most of us want to look the other way.”

    Speaking for myself, I’m not looking the other way. I understand that our talent pool in goal is spilling over and I realize the end is near. I just don’t want to see the Rangers organization unceremoniously dump or betray Hank. I would like to see a happy conclusion for all sides. He’ is one of the best Rangers to never win the CUP.

    1. He’s going to retires as the Dan Marino of hockey. The best goaltender to not win a cup.

    2. He needs to consider retirement before the LAST year of his contract expires. Better to retire one year early than 1 year too late. Let him for the most part split games with Georgiev (as in 3-4-5 straight games, than 3-4-5 games as the backup … and not some alternating scheme of play 1, sit 1) while allowing Shesty to get the lion’s share of games down in Hartford (50+).

      I would suggest something on the order of Hank 35-40 games, Georgiev 35-40 games and Shesty 5-9 games. Allow Hank to roll over into Management after retirement in the capacity he feels most comfortable with, whether it be PR, Assistant GM, Scouting or Coaching. He is future TOP management material, as in President or GM.

      1. Why do you think he is TOP management material? I am not saying he isn’t. From where I sit, we know virtually nothing (positive or negative) about his talents aside from goaltending. Well, I suspect the indications are that he would be good in public relations. However, just being good at the game does not mean you are necessarily either a good coach or a good evaluator of talent.

        Interesting thing about one year too early or one year too late. It is not the same thing in the eye of all viewers. Hank reinvigorated the Ranger franchise and his performance 2005-2013 was awesome. In my eyes, as in the eyes of so many others, he was heart and soul of the Rangers. But after so many years of mediocrity combined with the banality of excessive admiration, I doubt he would make my personal list of 100 favorite Rangers of all time. Maybe ten years from now, should I still walk this planet, the fond memories will reassert themselves – or maybe not.

        In the end, no matter when he retires, it will be too late for some of us and I suspect too early for some others.

        1. Ray I simply get the sense that he would be good in Management by the way he presents himself as well as a few other factors I have gleaned about him over the years, such as: tireless worker, student of the game, understands commitment, etc. It isn’t a sure thing, but I would have no problem seeing him put on a track for Top management. He may not complete the track and may not show an aptitude for teaching, managing others or evaluating talent, but he’s clearly a smart individual and a professional. That’s a good start and he should be given an opportunity to EARN his way to the Top (if he wants it). Why? Because he deserves our respect —- but I have to reiterate again that this is just a START, moving up the ladder is up to him.

      2. Yes the grade is correct, but I am calling it here and now. Henrik plays 53 games, wins 30, and they make the playoffs. All he needs is a lengthy break, some excellent therapy, Kappo Kakko and Erik Karlsson (kidding about Karlsson, but another defenseman would be good!) …

          1. You’re everywhere, mate.
            Are you @deporthank on twitter?
            And, Alex is far from being a starter.

            1. No dot…I am not that person. Alex was the starter to finish the season so I would say he is not that far

      3. Hank is 37, having him start 3-5 games, then resting goes against everything exercise science(and Hank’s play the last 2 seasons) has shown us.

        Hank will have to learn a new routine, because he should never play back to back, will always have 2 nights off between starts. Last year that would’ve meant 53 starts, but nothing should be taken for granted at this point, because Georgiev could get those starts instead.

      4. He could also go to the commentators booth like JD did. He’d be great and the fans could see him every night.

  3. It is over 100 in Savannah today so I came in the house and am absorbing the AC!

    Lundqvist has had a glorious career. Yes, it would have been great for him to have won a cup, but that doesn’t diminish his stature. Think of other greats like Jean Ratelle, Don Mattingly and Ernie Banks, who never won titles and you will understand that a title does not necessarily define greatness.

    That being said, I wish that it was possible for Hank to accept a lesser role gracefully this coming season. Splitting games with Georgiev seems about right to me but Hank famously claims he needs a lot of work to stay sharp. If they do split games and if Georgiev outplays him, then I hope that he is willing to admit that time has diminished his skills to the extent that backup status and retirement are his immediate futures.

    1. Lundqvist is not in the same category as Ratelle and Banks. He won the Olympic gold medal with Sweden in 2006. He did not walk away without a championship. If you could ask Lundqvist to choose between a Stanley Cup and a gold medal for Sweden, I don’t know which he would have chosen but I suspect the latter. Of course, his feelings today are greatly influenced by the long unsuccessful quest for the Cup when the gold seemingly came so easily.

      1. ” If you could ask Lundqvist to choose between a Stanley Cup and a gold medal for Sweden, I don’t know which he would have chosen but I suspect the latter.”

        I honestly do not know how you came up with this conclusion.

          1. That doesn’t mean that he would prefer a Gold medal over a Stanley Cup.

            You play professional sports with one thing in mind, to win a championship.

              1. Have to agree with Richter, he’s given everything to this organization and deserves respect. I don’t question his effort to win a Cup here.

          1. The 5 road games vs LA and Ottawa and 2 Home games vs TB are gonna be a major ugly mark on his resume

            1. The Rangers scored 3 goals (2 in Game 1) in 4 home games against TB in 2015, shutout in games 5 and 7, that’s no where near on the King.

              And I don’t want to hear about injuries in game 7, because just 2 days earlier the Rangers dropped a 6 spot on Bishop, they just did not use the same offensive tactic in Game 7, making Bishop move side to side.

              In the 2014 Cup series, game changing officiating and bad luck (Nash hitting Voynov’s stick shaft for a game winning goal) played a big part in that series.

              1. Yep TB series was bizzare…G5 G7 were evenly played games that he came out on the short side of….but it plays into the theme…..LA series had all kinds of things go on including last minute breakaways in G1 G2 that we didnt score on …. but he had leads and lost them all in OT…Ottawa series was an unmitigated disaster…..losing all 5 of those games in that fashion would be very hard to replicate. Is it all on him? absolutely not …Is he the reason we got a certain distance…yes…But he is no King

              2. And with all that heartbreak….I never saw a Ranger player go up to him and break their stick over the crossbar or scream at him

        1. You are missing the point. I am talking about two incredible accomplishments. I am not talking about winning the Calder Cup. Picking one in no way lessens the other. Quite possibly, Henrik dreamed of a gold medal before he even heard of the NHL.

          Hank wants to win a Cup as a Ranger. He wants it badly. I do not question his commitment. But it is just as ridiculous to question his commitment to his country’s national team.

          You of all people should understand this. Henrik Lundqvist loves his country and bringing glory to his country playing with and against the greatest hockey players in the world seems like the pinnacle to me, more so than winning the championship in a league in some other country.

          1. Raymond, YOU said which one he would want more, and YOU said a Gold medal. Did I misread that?

            YOU said that given the choice, Henrik would pick the Gold medal, and I think that’s incorrect.

            1. I ASKED which one he would want more and I SAID I didn’t know. I went on to say that my best guess was that he would prefer the gold, but then again that was just a guess. Then you reacted as if what I speculated was totally absurd.

              Winning a gold medal for Sweden in ice hockey was a HUGE deal.

              Look, I know you want to believe that he cares more about Ranger fans than his countrymen – and maybe he really does – but otherwise why would he want the Cup more.

              1. ” If you could ask Lundqvist to choose between a Stanley Cup and a gold medal for Sweden, I don’t know which he would have chosen but I suspect the latter.”

                This is what you said Raymond, and you took a side. Every hockey player wants to play in the NHL, but some choose to stay overseas because the competition is not nearly as tough and they can make more money there then here, while staying closer to home.

                I’m not saying that it isn’t important to win international tournaments, because it is, but to compare that to winning a Stanley Cup, I totally, totally disagree with you, as to a player’s preference.

              2. It doesn’t matter what a generic hockey player’s preference is. Lundqvist is not a player. He is a person. For a hockey player, winning the Cup is way more important than having a kid. For a person, the preference is not so clear. Lundqvist was born and raised in Sweden. It’s hard to imagine that he didn’t cheer on the Swedish national team when he was a kid, likely before he ever even thought about the NHL. Maybe one day he decided that self-fulfillment meant a Cup, but maybe self-fulfillment never became more important than being part of his country.

                Think about this. How many Swedes have won an Olympic gold in hockey? How many Swedes have their name on the Cup? Lundqvist achieved the hard one.

                Of course, if you have two goals, the one you haven’t achieved does seem more important than the one you have.

            2. Leaky started his decline a few years ago. Those who were honest enough to bring it up on this blog are ridiculed and demonized. Criticising Lundqvist has nothing to due with hate.

              Most of us were around when Henk broke into the league and watched him carry the Rangers on his back. But those days are long gone. I prefer to live in the now and not the days gone by.

              1. We are all in agreement that Hank is in decline, even his most adamant supporters like me, nothing wrong with saying that.

                But then terms like “Leaky” come into the posts which usually makes the post less credible, and shows an obvious agenda, instead of a reasonable opinion.

                Not to mention the lack of recognition this man has done for the franchise over the years. He has made the Rangers one of the most internationally recognized sports teams in the world.

  4. He is no longer our number 1 goalie, i hope he comes to terms with that this year. iI would to see hime retire with grace’
    love hank, but that time is here.

  5. Henrik apologist here. The grade is correct.

    The Rangers are not “his” team anymore. It’s Zib’s team IMO.

    The Rangers, as a whole, failed Henrik by making dumb decisions throughout his tenure here. The first big blunder was not keeping Jagr, and the Rangers kept trying to replace his production ever since. Another complete failure was the incompetent way they evaluate D men. Guys like Redden, Girardi, D Boyle, and Staal were given horrible contracts that were complete albatrosses for their respective Ranger teams, while letting go steady and consistent D men like Stralman, who were much better equipped for the faster NHL style of play.

    The Rangers had a good run, but making very bad decisions while using big cap space is the difference between winning the Cup and not winning the Cup. So instead of saying we should have paid the franchise goalie less for more cap space, the Rangers should have used the rest of the cap space in a much better way.

    It is very sad that he (and we) did not get to see a Cup during his prime, and in most cases, super human seasons.

    Thank you Henrik, you’re one of the most recognized NY athletes of all time, but it goes downhill from here. It’s your move now.


    1. Haha. Lundswiss.

      Hank four or more.

      He does have all star hair. At least he has that going for him.

      He’s not toast but he’s not vezina caliber anymore.

      If in training camp these other two goalies play well. Then he could be outplayed.

    2. Who was the better Goalie to close the Season? Who was stopping 55 shots from Toronto? who was losing to Ottawa and NJ?

      1. It is a team game. We know the team didn’t show up for King but did. The quality of shots from toronto were low. Literally, Toronto said NYR defense was clogging middle, which is the hardest place to stop shots. You also are guilty of calling him those names on @NYCTheMic and probably @deporthank

    1. National games = 8:20 puck drop. It’s the way it is, they have to get their 15 cents in.

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