Henrik Lundqvist is arguably one of the best ice hockey goaltenders in history. He spent his whole career with the New York Rangers after being selected by the Rangers in the seventh round of the 2000 NHL Draft. This pick is one of the most significant draft steals in NHL history. Over his twenty years with Rangers, he became known as the “King of New York”. He often played 70 or more games and rarely missed games due to injury or fatigue. Lundqvist holds many records and won the Vezina Trophy once back in 2012. Despite his abilities as a goaltender and leader, he never managed to win the Stanley Cup despite one Stanley Cup final appearance and three Eastern Conference Final appearances. He leads the Ranger’s franchise in wins, shutouts and games played across both regular and postseason play.
Buyout from Rangers
Because of his loyalty and being a fantastic player and person, he became a favourite player for Rangers and non-Rangers fans and respected by every player in the league. This is why it came as a shock back in September 2020 when the Rangers announced that they would buy-out Henrik Lundqvist from his contract’s remainder. Many expected that King Henrik would play out the entirety of his career with Rangers, retire as a Ranger and have his jersey retired in Madison Square Garden. The decisions saddened both fans and Lundqvist himself. It took Lundqvist less than a week to bounce back, where he took to Twitter and revealed that he still wants to fight his way to a Stanley Cup trophy.
I still love to compete. I still love the game and I still want to WIN!
— Henrik Lundqvist (@hlundqvist35) October 4, 2020
$1,5 Million Contract from Washington Capitals
With plenty of fuel left in Lundqvist’s tank, some teams looked into signing him and finally, he reached a deal with Washington Capitals for a 1-year contract worth $1,5 million. The expectations were for Lundqvist to play a reduced number of games and provide leadership for the teams and mentorship for the other young goalies on the roster. Capitals is a decent title contender, and it looked as though Lundqvist had good chances of getting the last item off his bucket list.
Looming Heart Condition
Henrik Lundqvist has managed a heart condition for all of his career, and following the new deal with Capitals, he underwent several physical checks. During this time, he continued with the daily skates and workouts. He was very excited about this new chapter at the end of a long, storied career, and, of course, the chances of winning the Stanley Cup with his new team. Special attention was given to his heart condition, and after seeing several medical experts across North America, he delivered some saddening news. On 17th December, Lundqvist announced that his heart condition had forced him to sit out the upcoming season. Effectively putting his journey with Capitals on-hold – it may never resume. Now Lundqvist has to process the situation and take the necessary steps towards recovery. Capitals are left disappointed but should salvage the situation well.
It remains to be seen what happens to Lundqvist next. We can expect him to recover from the heart issue with the same determination and grit as he has tackled any game of his long career. He did not announce his retirement, and it’s not unlikely that we will see Henrik in an NHL jersey at least one more time. Who knows, maybe some bookmakers will even put up odds on Henrik Lundqvist returning to the NHL?