Verdict: Did Henrik Lundqvist have a slow start?
Update: First 10 Games vs Career Stats
Before the start of the season, I raised the red flag that Henrik Lundqvist might come out of the gate slow. There were warning signs during the World Cup and preseason that indicated a potential slow start.
Keeping Lundqvist In Context
The King has a career 2.28 GAA coupled with a .921 SV%. These stats are significantly better compared to his first 10 games stats which are an un-Lundqvist like 2.45 GAA and 914 SV%. That means in his previous 11 years, Henrik has started worse than his career stats 7 times.
These numbers are the benchmark I am using to determine his slow starts. So in essence, he’s his own worst enemy for this argument. It’s like when people would complain about Wayne Gretzky only scoring 120 points because everyone was accustomed to 150+ point seasons.
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 seemed unlikely and his numbers ended up almost exactly where we expected them to be.
Lundqvist’s 2016-17 First 10 Games Stats
So where did Hank finish after 10 games this year? Almost exactly what his first 10 games career average is. Henrik posted a 2.50 GAA and a .914 SV%, which is basically on point save for his GAA being .05 higher than his career 2.45.
I am sure many will disagree with me, but I would conclude that this was another statistical slow start for Henrik. He tied his 5th worst GAA of 2.50 but did have a fair SV%, but nowhere near his career numbers.
What drove my decision was that fact in 5 of his first 10 games, he finished the game with a sub .899 save percentage. Like I stated, I am not focused on his record because Wins and Losses are really a team number and the Rangers have been excellent from top to bottom.
Now just imagine how much better the Rangers are going to be as his stats improve. You are on notice NHL.