Henrik Lundqvist is a first ballot Hall of Famer, and will headline the 2023 Hall of Fame class. Lundqvist, who spent his entire playing career with the Rangers, a statement we can now say since he never actually suited up for the Washington Capitals, is one of the greatest goaltenders of all time. He revolutionized the position, forcing goalies to adapt to the new NHL. Instead of standard butterfly goalies, Lundqvist played deep in the net and relied on reflexes and athleticism to get the job done.
Since Lundqvist’s debut in 2005, the days of the big butterfly goalie are of the past. Now, we see goalies like Igor Shesterkin, Andrei Vasilevskiy, and Connor Hellebuyck taking the Lundqvist style of play.
Lundqvist finished his career with a .918 SV%, 459 wins, and a 2.43 GAA. Lundqvist won the Vezina Trophy in 2012 and was nominated another three times. He is also the only goaltender to record 11 30-win seasons in his first 12 seasons, with that 12th season being the lockout shortened 2012-2013 season.
If not for Lundqvist, the Rangers runs from 2012-2015 simply would not have happened. He single handedly carried these Rangers teams to success, and notably only played with one other Hall of Famer in Jaromir Jagr. Lundqvist did not have a single elite player on his team from 2009 until the end of his career. It was a miracle these Rangers teams went as far as they did for as long as they did.