By now, there aren’t many hockey fans, if any, who don’t recognize the superb talent between the pipes that is Henrik Lundqvist. Sure, there may be some rival fans out there who might just ignorantly fight it, but that number is most likely dwindling and shrinking. Since his entrance into the National Hockey League in 2005, Henrik Lundqvist has risen to become an elite goaltender at every level of professional hockey.
The Swedish talent enters Monday’s matchup against the Tampa Bay Lightning just one win shy of tying Miikka Kiprusoff for 23rd on the all-time wins list. Because of that, this seems like as good a time as ever to look back at “The King’s” career up to this point.
While we are going to look at some stats, plateaus, and accomplishments, we’re also going to use this as an opportunity look back on some of the best highlights of Henrik Lundqvist, and add some of his most recent “thrown-worthy” saves and moments to the already impressive list as well.
An interesting stat was brought up not too long ago on the Rangers reddit page which stated that Henrik Lundqvist was the only NHL goaltender currently in the top-30 in wins among goaltenders whose careers began following the ’04-’05 lockout. (Lundqvist’s career began in 2005. Additionally, he is the only goalie in the top-30 to never record a tie.)
These stats did in fact check out, and they are a testament to both the man’s consistency, and winning percentage over the long-term in the Rangers crease.
Lundqvist’s 318 wins (as of this writing), is not just the best in New York Rangers history, but is also good enough for 24th on the all-time wins list, and as I mentioned earlier, is just one shy of tying Miikka Kiprusoff for 23rd. Better than that, though, the first goaltender to appear after Lundqvist on the all-time wins list whose career also started after the ‘04 lockout is Cam Ward with 231 wins. Ward’s career also started in 2005. Over that same time frame, Lundqvist has collected 87 more wins than the Carolina netminder.
Of course, we could spend all day looking at the teams playing in front of these goaltenders, but numbers are numbers, and with “The King,” they continue to speak for themselves.
Unfortunately for many “old-time” goaltenders, career statistics such as save-percentages and goals against averages were not recorded, and thus there are no official records of those stats kept. However, starting in the early, to mid-1980s, those stats started to be recorded and are now available.
On the aforementioned all-time wins list, Lundqvist also owns one of the top career save-percentages to be recorded to this point.
We often hear the names Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur, and Dominic Hasek thrown out when debating who the greatest goaltender of all-time is. (We also hear Grant Fuhr, Jacques Plante, and the like, but for the sake of this argument using career save-percentages, they will be left out for now…)
Yes, Roy, Brodeur, and Hasek have all won the Stanley Cup and multiple Vezina trophies, and undoubtedly deserve to be considered among the best. However, Lundqvist has also won the Vezina, an Olympic gold medal, and holds a higher career save-percentage than both Roy and Brodeur. In fact, the only goaltender in the top-65 of the all-time wins list with a higher career save-percentage to this point than Lundqvist is “The Dominator” himself, Dominic Hasek. Lundqvist currently owns a .920 career save-percentage, while Hasek retired with a career .922.
He isn’t the greatest of all-time yet, but if he stays healthy and continues at his current pace, he may come close by the time he retires.
And then there’s the Henrik Lundqvist that shows up in the biggest of moments. In his career, Henrik Lundqvist has posted utterly spectacular numbers when playing in game seven’s, and he has saves in those games that have been equally terrific.
In the interest of keeping this short and sweet, I’ll simply state his game seven statistics: In six game seven’s in his career, Henrik Lundqvist is 5-1, with a 1.00 goals against average, a .965 save percentage, and one shutout.
If that isn’t sensational, I don’t know what is.
Lundqvist could take another step up the all-time rankings with a win Monday night, and he would be every bit deserving. Henrik Lundqvist has had quite a career up to this point. I just hope for his sake he finds a way to win that ever elusive Stanley Cup at some point down the road.