This weekend has a been one to forget for the New York Rangers. Two heavy losses to both the Senators and Flyers have alarm bells ringing at MSG. Henrik Lundqvist, in particular, has been put under the microscope. The 35-year-old Swede has looked out of sorts and almost lost. Due to the Rangers rebuild, key names will be traded. Rick Nash and Ryan McDonagh have apparently given trade lists. Should Broadway Blue management look to Lundqvist to secure future talent?
First of all, I highly respect Lundqvist and over his 13 seasons in the Big Apple, he has carried this team. Without question, he is a fan favourite. However, this season his performances have been a cause for concern. His record in net this season stands at 23-21-4 with a GAA of 2.89. Doesn’t look bad on the surface, but as we go deep it becomes more troubling. In his last game, against the Flyers, he was left in net for all 7 goals against, and in his defence, Philly looked sharp.
Despite gaining over 20 wins in 13 straight seasons, right now Lundqvist just isn’t the same. During his golden season in 2011-12, his GAA was a mere 1.97. So far in 2017-18, he has a career-high number for goals allowed. Normally a reliable figure in net, Lundqvist currently holds the most ever wins for a European goalie. An Olympic gold medalist in 2006 and winner of the Vezina in 2012, his accolades work in his favour.
While he is nicknamed ‘King Henrik’ by the MSG faithful, his crown is in danger of slipping. Lundqvist appears weary of life in a Rangers jersey. There has been an apathy to his game and an air of discontent. The team he loves playing for is a shadow of the Stanley Cup Final team of 2014. Rock bottom of the Metropolitan, a new dawn isn’t rising anytime soon. So, should NYR cash on this big chip? The real question will be ‘Who will take him?’ and ‘What will New York get in return?’
There’s no question that Lundqvist would have plenty of takers, especially in the Western Conference where some teams have big goalie problems. Edmonton, Chicago and Vancouver are teams in dire need a good stopper. But how willingly will New York depart with their beloved King? Any team that swoops in for him will need to offer up something special. Draft picks could be a big factor in any trade because this team wants to secure the future.
You can’t single him out completely for the Rangers decline in form. His performances though really haven’t helped matters. In Ottawa on Saturday he was pulled for backup Brandon Halverson. Lundqvist has let in more than 4 goals in over 14 different outings this season. Being faced with the reality that your star goalie is no longer himself, GM Jeff Gorton might want to keep his phone handy.
Will he move before the deadline? Unlikely at this point, I’d say, but the 2018 NHL Draft might make him a hot commodity for trades. I hope that Lundqvist finds the spark he needs to reignite his form. He has been the glue that has held MSG together for some many years. Unfortunately, it is beginning to break apart.