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",