Grab a pen and some paper, and sit down and list out 204 players that you would rather have on your team rather than Henrik Lundqvist. I bet you can’t do it. So what was everyone thinking in 2000, when every team passed on Henrik Lundvist until the seventh round when the New York Rangers selected him with the 205th pick in the entry draft.
Lundqvist spent five seasons playing in Sweden for Frolunda before making his debut in New York. Lundqvist made his debut in 2005 after starting goalie, Kevin Weekes went down with an injury. He finished the season with a record of 30-12-9, a goals against average of 2.24, and a save percentage of .922%. He recorded two shutouts in his first season, and was nominated for the Vezina trophy. He was not a finalist for the Calder, because of the crop of rookies that season.
Lundqvist bounced back the following season and played in 70 games. He posted a goals against average of 2.34, and a save percentage of .917%, and added 5 shutouts. He was nominated for the Vezina trophy once again, for the second season in a row he came up short.
Lundqvist started in goal for the Swedish team during the 2006 Olympics in Turin. Lundqvist helped lead the Swedish team to the gold medal game against Finland. Sweden bested Finland 5-1 to win the first gold medal in ice hockey since 1994.
Lundqvist would be nominated again the following season for the Vezina Trophy, and again would come up short on winning the. He posted a goals against average of 2.23, and a save percentage of .912%.
Lundqvist really showed his dominance during the 2011-2012 season, when he played in 62 games, holding a record of 39-18-5, and a goals against average of 1.97, and a save percentage of .930%. He added 8 shutouts, and won his first Vezina Trophy. He was nominated for the Hart and the Ted Lindsay award, but only was able to take home the Vezina. Lundqvist had a dominant season with New York, but they still came up short in the playoffs once again.
Lundqvist appeared in 42 games this last season, and despite the offensive problems the Rangers had this season, he was able to post a record of 24-16-3, with a goals against average of 2.05, and a save percentage of .926. He was nominated for the Vezina once again, but was bested by Sergei Bobrovsky.
Lundqvist is the Rangers best player, and the only reason the record is as good as it is every single season. Lundqvist is arguably the best goalie in the NHL right now, and is about to hit a payday next season when his contract expires. It’s hard to believe everyone thought 204 players would be more valuable to their team than Henrik Lundqvist in 2000, but I bet they’re all kicking themselves now. Lundqvist is an NHL star, and deserves the recognition for being great, especially in a media crazed city like New York. Lundqvist is New York’s diamond in the rough, from 205th overall, to NHL all-star, Vezina winning, goaltender.