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We're counting down the Top 10 New York sports stories of 2020, and we continue with No. 6...
Over the past 15 years, no one has been more synonymous with the Rangers than Henrik Lundqvist. Unquestionably the best goalie in franchise history, the King holds the franchise record for wins (459), shutouts (64) and postseason wins (61).
He was instrumental in the team’s run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2014, was a two-time All-Star and captured the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goaltender in 2011-12.
But at the age of 38, Lundqvist appeared in just 30 games in 2019-20, the fewest of his NHL career. With young goaltenders Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev ready to take the reins, the Rangers bought out the final year of Lundqvist’s contract in September, ending his storied tenure in New York.
“We would like to thank Henrik for his immeasurable contributions to the New York Rangers,” Rangers president (and former Rangers netminder himself) John Davidson said at the time. “From the time I met Henrik when he first came to New York in 2005, he has been the consummate professional. His tireless work ethic, passion for the game, and love of the Rangers and New York City enabled him to become one of the greatest goaltenders in hockey and one of the best players in the history of our franchise. We all wish Henrik and his family the best going forward.”
Lundqvist and the Rangers were unable to capture a Stanley Cup during his time here, but the contract buyout provided him the chance find a role as a backup on a Cup-contending team. Lundqvist took that opportunity to sign with the Capitals, but his next chapter came to a close before it could get underway.
Earlier this month, Lundqvist announced that he’d been diagnosed with a heart condition that would prevent him from joining Washington this season.
With the goaltender’s career now essentially on pause, it’s possible he’ll retire.