Rangers Roundup: Lundqvist’s big night arrives, can Kreider win Rocket Richard Trophy, and more
The New York Rangers are going to pull out all the stops and put together a ceremony fit for a king.
Henrik Lundqvist, who was dubbed The King early in his career because his first name in Scandinavian means “ruler of the homeland”, will have his #30 raised to the rafters at MSG.
Henrik Lundqvist’s big night
This morning, the New York Rangers have changed their social media accounts to reflect the #30 that is going sit atop The World’s Most Famous Arena’s iconic ceiling.
In a brief video teasing the evening, they showed a new banner being hooked up and ready to rise with the other greats.
“It’s really happening,” Lundqvist responded to the video.
Lundqvist, 39, ended his NHL career with a record of 459-310-96, a .916 SV% and a GAA of 2.43 with 64 shutouts. Despite being bought out by the Rangers and signing a one-year deal with the Capitals, a heart condition prevented him from every playing for another NHL team.
“That’s the thing with the Rangers, they’re an Original Six team and take a lot of pride in their history,” Lundqvist said on Jimmy Fallon. “You feel that as a player… And now to be part of that myself it’s a surreal feeling.”
“I walked up to where my family is going to sit and right there are all banners,” Lundqvist said, seeming a little overwhelmed. “It was a very special moment for me.”
Chris Kreider Rocket Richard Trophy?
Kreider is one goal one ahead of Washington’s Alex Ovechkin and Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl for the league lead. His torrid goal scoring pace has him in the running for the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, which is awarded annually to the NHL’s goal-scoring leader. An honor Ovechkin has won 9 times.
Kreider, 30, has been an enigma for years on Broadway. Since he broke into the NHL, he has flashed blazing speed, a big shot, nifty hands, and a huge net front presence.
Yet, he’s never been able to break the 30 goal barrier until this season.
Sure, he’s had some solid campaigns in his career that spans 10 years. Last year, he finished with 20 in 50 games and was heading towards breaking that mark had it been a normal 82 game schedule.
Now he’s on pace to score 57 goals, which would set the mark for most goals in a season by a New York Ranger. That record is currently held by Jaromir Jagr, who accomplished the feat in 2005-2006.
He has a great chance to do it too. Kreider plays in all situations averaging 18:52 per game, the highest in his career to date. One potential issue is that half his goals (15) have come on the man advantage. New York’s PP ranks 9th in the NHL as of today hitting at a clip of 24.6%, and show no signs of slowing down.
Will it be enough to beat out the likes of Alex Ovechkin, and Leon Draisaitl? You also can’t leave out last year’s defending champ, Auston Matthews.
One thing is for certain, Kreider is where no one expected him to be and that’s noteworthy even if he doesn’t take home the hardware.
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