Chances are high that Henrik Lundqvist will start slow this season

Lundqvist (USATODAY)

Lundqvist (USATODAY)

Henrik Lundqvist is getting set to start his 12th season between the pipes for the New York Rangers. Statistically speaking, you should prepare yourself for one of his notorious slow starts.

A Cause For Concern

Coming off the heels of a lackluster 2016 World Cup Tournament where Lundqvist stopped only 137 of 152 shots faced for a paltry .901 save percentage, I raised an eyebrow. He followed it up with an even worse preseason where he turned aside 44 of 49 shots for a .897 save percentage, that when combined with the WC is an even .900.

This led me to look at the first 10 games of his regular season since he came to the NHL. Here are his stats:

Lundqvist's 1st 10 games of his career (FullTilt NYR)

Lundqvist’s 1st 10 games of his career (FullTilt NYR)

The chart shows his GAA and SV% for each of his 11 seasons in the NHL. I added his record  (above season) which will show that a slow start doesn’t necessarily impact the Rangers. If you notice in 2014-15, he probably had his 2nd worst start to a season, but the Rangers offense led by Rick Nash made up for it. That offensive support gave him a 6-3-1 record regardless of his stats.

First 10 Games vs Career Stats

The King has a career 2.28 GAA coupled with a .921 SV%. These stats are significantly better to his first 10 games stats which are an un-Lundqvist like 2.45 GAA and 914 SV%. That means in 11 years, Henrik has started worse than his career stats 7 times.

Last year, Henrik game into the year with a fire in his gut after losing to the Lightning in game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final. He had his best ever start to his career, and helped the Rangers amass enough points that it carried them into the playoffs even though they struggled down the stretch.

Still, of the 4 times he outperformed his career stats to start a season, 3 were in his first 4 seasons. So a repeat of last year seems highly unlikely. If what we’ve seen so far is any indication of the start he’ll have, don’t expect much.

Conclusion

Based on his career stats vs first 10 games, there is at least a 64% chance that he will start slow. That doesn’t mean that the Rangers can’t overcome a slow start by Lundqvist, and it certainly shouldn’t indicate that Henrik is in decline.

The bottom line is simple, for his career Henrik Lundqvist is a slow starter. At this stage for him and the Rangers in general, the finish matters more than the start. As with most years, when it is all said and done, Lundqvist’s stats will remain – Kingly.

Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore