Nils Lundkvist thankful for New York Rangers experience

Former New York Rangers first round draft pick Nils Lundkvist is living up to his vast potential as a member of the Dallas Stars.

Lundkvist, 22, has 4 assists in 8 games this season after registering 4 points (1G-3A) in 25 contests while in New York last season.

“It was a very special situation this summer and I’m happy how everything ended,” Lundkvist said on Friday. “I’m happy for my time in New York too. I have so much respect for that organization. I’m happy they drafted me, believed in me, and let me play in the NHL. I learned a lot from last year, but now I’m very happy to be [in Dallas].”

Nils Lundkvist grateful to Rangers organization

nils lundkvist
Oct 3, 2022; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Stars defenseman Nils Lundkvist (5) scores a goal against the Colorado Avalanche during the third period at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

When Nils Lundkvist asked the New York Rangers for a trade last January, both sides kept it quiet until agent Claude Lemieux pushed harder this summer for a deal.

The play worked and GM Chris Drury was able to get a nice return from the Dallas Stars. In exchange, the Rangers received a conditional first round selection in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft and a conditional fourth round selection in the 2025 NHL Entry Draft.

The conditions per the New York Rangers press release are as follows:

  • If the Stars pick in the 2023 draft is in the top 10, the Rangers will get Dallas’ own first round pick in the 2024 draft instead and the pick will be unprotected.
  • If Lundkvist produces 55 points cumulative over the 2022-23 and 2023-24 seasons, Dallas will transfer its own third-round pick in 2025 instead of the fourth-round pick in 2025.

Since the trade, Lundkvist has fit right in and impressed his new head coach Peter DeBoer.

“The kid’s been unflappable since we got him,” DeBoer said. “Offensively, you see the gifts but what I like is how he’s defended. He really hasn’t looked overwhelmed or outmuscled in hardly any situation all year. You forget he’s still a young defenseman.”

Lundkvist simply didn’t see a path forward in New York behind Adam Fox, Jacob Trouba, and suddenly Braden Schneider on the right side defense. That’s why he and his agent requested the trade.

The offensively talented Swede lost his spot to Schneider thanks to the rugged defender’s ability to play hard-nosed defense. It’s a knock that Lundkvist doesn’t feel is justified.

“You want to earn your playing time. I feel like I had a solid camp and they believe in me,” he said. “I feel like I’ve been more solid defensively. I also didn’t feel like that was a problem for me in New York. I had a big injury coming to camp the season before and this summer I had plenty of time to work on strength and conditioning. I feel like that’s been the difference.”

In the end, Lundkvist and his agent have spoken highly of the Rangers, but this is the opportunity he’s been looking for. When the Blueshirts come into Dallas today, he’ll have a chance to show them what he can do.

“It’ll be a special game,” Lundkvist admitted. “I know a lot of the organization. I haven’t played that many games there, but you get to know a bunch of the guys and the staff. It’s going to be a fun game.”

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