Is King Henrik’s Rangers Reign Nearing The End?

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The New York Post published an interesting story on Rangers legend Mike Richter and his stance on when “The King” will be less king-like. The facts are the facts and Henrik Lundqvist is getting older. Nobody can beat father time, and eventually, it catches up to all of us. Have we seen the best of the Hank? Probably. Does he still have enough in the tank for when the Rangers complete their rebuild? Absolutely.

Contractually, Lundqvist will be a part of the Rangers until the end of the 2020-21 season. By that time, the first-round selections of this season could already be established with the Rangers. The young kids of now will be two years older and have enough experience to come into their own.

The cause for concern with Lundqvist is the shakiness he showed last season. He is statistically getting worse and it can visually be seen. Sure, the defense was a huge issue last season, but at the same time, there were some soft shots that found its way across the goal line.

His skills are dulling and his shine as a top goaltender is flickering. But, he can still be a valuable piece of this rebuild and possibly beyond.

Lundqvist now sits at 36 years of age, so the time is dwindling down until he has to hang up the pads. I would like to see Hank keep going after 2021, but I don’t think it will happen.

He will be 38 during his last season under contract, rapidly gravitating toward 40. There have been some select goalies that have succeeded after reaching “the 40-year-old hill”. Dominik Hasek, Dwayne Roloson, and Martin Brodeur each played some games while being apart of the 40-and-over club.

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The only way I see Lundqvist giving age 39 and/or 40 a shot, is if the Rangers are bona fide contenders by then. Meaning, they are atop of the Metro division in 2021, don’t get bounced in the first-round and have enough talent to make a deep playoff runs in consecutive seasons. Henrik Lundqvist is one of the most competitive hockey players in the game’s history, and he will do anything to win a championship in New York.

Future Talent

Under Lundqvist are two very highly touted goalie prospects for the Rangers future in Alexandar Georgiev and Igor Shestorykin.

Georgiev showed time backing up Hank last season in reputable fashion. I have advocated for his stay as the Rangers backup for these rebuilding seasons. With the previous point made, Hank is gonna need some more time off. This season must be split between Hank and Georgiev to make sure the Rangers can get the most out of Lundqvist.

Shestorykin is still a little way off from coming to the United States, as he is slated to at least appear in the KHL in 2018-19. Even so, if a sophomore slump were to occur with Georgiev, Shestorykin would be the next man up.

It’s All Up To Him

It’s all up to Henrik Lundqvist. As big of a competitor that he is, I could imagine the number one voice in deciding to bench him more would be Hank.

Another powerful voice in that conversation will be Benoit Allaire. Allaire, who has been with Lundqvist for the entirety of his NHL career, will be leaned on heavily by new head coach David Quinn. No one in the Rangers organization knows Henrik Lundqvist better than Allaire.

The time is ticking on winning a cup for Henrik Lundqvist. At 36, and the mindset of this organization in a rebuilding process, the cards have been stacked against “The King” now more than ever. This next season will be a trial of what this team can or can’t be, and despite all of the upcoming prospects ready to take the reigns from Rangers past, a large question remains in goal.

Is it time for “The King” to be dethroned?

 

 

 

 

4 comments

  • The reading has been on the wall for sometime. The only one who couldn’t read it was Henrik himself. I guess his stubbornness is what makes him a hall of famer. I’m guessing, Quinn’s visit to Sweden to talk and getting Richter to share his views on age are just part of managements plan to get the message across—No cup for you in New York—if you want one, will do our best to place you in the best opportunity—-you will always be a Ranger—-we will hoist your number in the rafters—but its all up to you—we owe it to you for you have given—old goal tenders never die—they just fade away.

    • BR I agree with you. I think some fans have a fantasy if Hank of leading them to a Cup. That is a pipe dream. His best days are behind him. He is still a viable goalie and one that fans still want to see at the Garden. However when the soft goals continue to mount that luster will dull quickly. He has stood on his head for the Rangers and nobody will forget that. His number will never be worn again and he will sit atop the rafters for eternity at Madison Square Garden.

      However reality has started to sink in and the Rangers did the right thing by him to show what their plans entailed. He decided to ride it out with the Rangers instead of trying to win a Cup elsewhere. I’m sure last year there would have been a number of playoff teams that would have attempted to trade for him if he were available. I think his value goes down with each passing season and the days of getting a Kings Ransom in return are long gone. Some Ranger fans have to come to grips with Hank being a run of the mill type of goalie and not one of the best in the league.

      Guys like Hasek were successful because Detroit was loaded with veteran all stars seemingly at every position. Marty Brodeur turned in moldy Swiss Cheese after 40 and the batteries in the goal lamp had to be changed frequently from overuse. Hank was stellar on a nightly basis for a vast majority of his career, we shouldn’t expect that anymore. Yes defense and their issues in their own zone led to more chances with turned into more goals allowed that we normally expect Hank giving up. Yet last year fans saw a multitude of goals Hank would save in his sleep go in. Those type of goals will only increase with his age. Hopefully some of the newer fans who didn’t see Hank in his prime could respect what he once was and not what he is now.

      Richter vs Hank will now be a argument for Ranger fans to have over a beer. Depending on your age group might determine which one you will favor over the other. That will be a good posting one day and probably lead to headed discussions. Until then let’s continue to watch and appreciate Hank before he plays his last game as a Ranger.

  • No one player, no matter who he is, should be greater than the team. The ONLY consideration should be what’s best for the New York Ranger organization. Ray Bourque was moved for the sole purpose of his winning the Stanley Cup, so can Hank. If Hank wants to put the cherry on top of his HOF career, he should consent to be moved.

  • We as fans think of the team, not the individual players. To us, players are only commodities or assets as management considers them. Players understand this is a business. Thus, everyone knows the game. Henrik was good when they had a defense in front of him. Let me be clear, last year’s record was more than helped by his efforts. He was super. The soft goals given was more of focus on how team was playing in front of him. He’s sensitive. He tries his best. He still has life, and with a team with a chance at the cup—he might just get what he wants. It’s his decision, sorrowfully. Management dealing with their heart, rather than with their head.

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