Henrik Lundqvist is hanging up the pads. The long-time New York Rangers netminder, who was under contract with the Washington Capitals last season, announced his retirement on Friday.
Lundqvist made his announcement in person at Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg, Sweden early Friday morning, and also took to social media to explain his decision. Lundqvist told the New York Post that Scandinavium Arena is “when my dream began that one day I would play there for Frolunda” after watching a game there when he was six years old.
The 39-year-old netminder also took to social media to explain his decision.
“It’s time. For the last 30 years, I have devoted my life to the game of hockey… and now it’s time to walk away from the game I love and begin a new chapter,” Lundqvist wrote in an emotional post.
— Henrik Lundqvist (@hlundqvist35) August 20, 2021
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Lundqvist was originally selected by the Rangers in the seventh round of the 2000 NHL Draft. He played five seasons with Frolunda HC in the SHL, registering a .929 save percentage and 2.00 GAA before taking his talents to the NHL. In his rookie debut in 2005-06, Lundqvist went 30-2-9, boasting a 2.24 GAA and .922 save percentage. He finished fourth in Calder voting and made tothe NHL All-Rookie team.
Over his 15 seasons with the Blueshirts, Lundqvist posted a record of 459-310-96, registering a .918 save percentage and 2.43 GAA over 752 total starts. He won the Vezina in 2012 and also played in five NHL All-Star Games. “The King” cemented his legacy as one of, if arguably not the best, goaltender to take over the crease at Madison Square Garden. His time in New York ended when the team bought out his contract in the 2020 offseason.
Lundqvist signed a one-year deal with the Washington Capitals following the buyout. However, a heart condition sidelined him for the season, leading Vitek Vanecek to take over the goaltending duties with Ilya Samsonov for 2020-21. Lundqvist worked toward an NHL comeback, but ultimately missed the entirety of the campaign and elected to retire.
The King leaves a remarkable legacy behind him. He ranks sixth on the all-time wins list and 10th on the all-time save percentage list. Lundqvist is also the Rangers’ all-time leader in games played, wins, SV%, shots against (25,610) and saves (23,509). New York announced via social media that they will raise Lundqvist’s No. 30 the rafters and honor him at a game this upcoming season.