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After 15 NHL Seasons; New York Rangers have decided to buyout Henrik Lundqvist

Fifteen seasons, 11 trips to the postseason the first 12 years, 11 playoff series victories, a trip to the Cup final in 2014 folded into three trips to the Eastern Conference finals within four years during the halcyon days of the last decade, franchise records with 459 victories, 64 shutouts, 61 postseason victories, the 2011-12 Vezina Trophy and a first-All-Star team berth that same Black-and-Blueshirt season.

The Rangers will buy out the contract of Lundqvist on Wednesday, parting ways with the veteran goalie who has largely been the face of the franchise since he entered the league in 2005, Rick Carpiniello of The Athletic reports. Lundqvist, 38, had one year remaining on the seven-year, $59.5 million ($8.5 million AAV) deal he signed with the team in 2013.

With the buyout, Lundqvist will become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career. If he chooses to continue playing, it’s strongly believed he’ll look to join a contending team as he chases a Stanley Cup ring.

The buyout comes as the Rangers continue building with the big picture in mind. This past season, the club saw the emergence of young Russian netminder Igor Shesterkin, who appears to be the team’s future in net. With Lundqvist, Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev all proving to be capable and worthy of a roster spot, the Rangers found themselves with a logjam in the crease.

After being drafted in the seventh round in 2000, Hank became a franchise icon, establishing new club records with 459 victories (sixth-most in NHL history), 64 shutouts and 61 postseason wins. In 887 career games played, Lunqdvist boasts a 2.43 GAA and a .918 save percentage.

He won a Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goaltender in 2011-2012 and was named a finalist four additional times.

Lundqvist’s career postseason numbers are impressive — 130 games played, a 2.30 goals against average with a .921 save percentage. Those numbers become a lot more impressive with the context that a lot of his playoff teams over the years were weak defensively.

Now, he’ll have to decide whether he wants to retire having only donned one jersey over the entirety of his NHL career, or whether he wants to join another franchise on a short-term, relatively short-money deal for a chance to chase a Cup.

Either way, Lundqvist’s place in Rangers history is secure, and his No. 30 jersey will hang in the rafters at Madison Square Garden sooner rather than later.

 

Igor Burdetskiy

Igor Burdetskiy

Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & CEO at Hooked on Hockey Magazine
I grew up playing Ball and Roller Hockey day and night somewhat religiously throughout elementary and middle school. The two don't compare though when I lace up the skates and hit the ice. I live and breathe hockey beyond the perspective of "it's just a game" and I will gladly talk hockey for hours with anyone. Hockey is more than just a lifestyle, it's a culture of passionate people who make memories every time the puck is dropped. Hockey has not only helped me get through some of the hardest times in life but has created some of the best memories to date. Want to talk hockey with me? Shoot me an email: iburdetskiy@hookedonhockey.com and let's talk some hockey!
Igor Burdetskiy
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