Rangers goalie log jam will extend Lundqvist’s career

Lundqvist Makes Save on Atkinson (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

This season, Henrik Lundqvist will play the least amount of games in his career since his rookie season. At 49 games played, he will likely only start another 4 or 5 of the remaining 9 contests for a total of 53 or 54.

Age and Circumstances a factor

The only other two times he played less was 2012 and 2015. In the 2012-13 lockout shortened season he played 43 of the 48 game schedule. The 2014-15 season, Lundqvist was struck in the neck by a puck forcing him to miss 25 games, yet he finished with 46 starts.

Now the future Hall of Fame net minder is 37 and playing for a rebuilding franchise with no hopes of post season action this year. Going forward, with Alexander Georgiev and Igor Shestyorkin vying for playing time, we should see Hank’s starts reduced even further. It’s really a blessing.

Young and Promising Future

Alexander Georgiev’s steady and reliable play has allowed the Rangers to give Lundqvist the time his body needs to rest. Statistically, wins and losses nor GAA is a fair assessment of the kid’s play, but his .905 save percentage stands out on a struggling young team.

The truth is, he really appears to be a placeholder for the anticipated coming of the Czar of New York. Igor Shestyorkin should be making his way to the Rangers next season. He will challenge for a spot straight out of camp but he will need to adjust to the North American rinks and style of play.

This most likely will entail making a trip to Hartford at some point, so Georgiev will still be needed. He is signed through 2020 and is waivers exempt meaning the Rangers will have no fear of losing him to another team during this process.

Longer Live the King

Regardless of who the back up will be next season, we can expect to see Henrik Lundqvist start anywhere between 42-50 games. This will ensure that Lundqvist can remain healthy and fresh for the remaining 2 years of his contract which will take him to the age of 39.

Another very likely possibility is that Lundqvist will embrace the role of mentor and stay on as the backup beyond this contract. Let’s not forget that Martin Brodeur played until the age of 42 and fitness wise, it’s no contest.

Henrik Lundqvist is in great shape and has been praised for his exercise regimen and work ethic. He has been and will be until he retires the true leader of the Rangers. Extending the King after this contract makes more and more sense every time I think about it.

Yes, this rebuild has been particularly rough on Henrik Lundqvist but he made the choice to stay. It would be a fitting reward that he be on the ice if this exciting young team becomes Stanley Cup contenders and can eventually take home hockey’s biggest prize.

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

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