Why Having a Superstar in the Rangers Net Will Never Be Enough
Since taking over as the backbone of the New York Rangers in 2005, Henrik Lundqvist has given us all good reasoning behind calling him “King”. Year after year, we seem to get the same Lundqvist. Putting the team on his back more times than not and giving us Ranger fans hope. Hope that we can bring a Cup back to New York, although over the past 13 seasons it’s clear that no matter what Lundqvist does, it will never be enough.
In his 805-game career, Lundqvist has posted a 2.37 GAA and a .919 SV% while going 431-275-83. The reasoning behind this teams success over the past decade is mainly because of the man in net. Unlike other championship-caliber teams, Henrik had to be the best guy on the ice day in and day out. That’s why the Rangers could never finish the job in the postseason. Failing to bring home the Cup, because having one superstar on your team, who’s in net, will never make you a champion.
The Rangers as this chart shows, simply can’t score in the playoffs.
In no way am I knocking Henrik Lundqvist. If you look at the most recent Stanley Cup champions, it all starts with a strong net-minder. However, while looking at past champions, they all have superstars outside of their goalie. Since 2015, we’ve seen three different teams bring home Lord Stanley. Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins (x2), and most recently the Washington Capitals. All have strong goalies, but they all get the job done because of their star goal-scorers, which the Rangers never had.
Chicago had Toews and Kane, Pittsburgh had Crosby and Malkin, and Washington had Ovechkin and Backstrom. That’s without naming the role players on each team that produced more than any Ranger ever had in the post season. While looking at the Rangers playoff runs over Alain Vigneault’s tenure for example, who could the Rangers possibly look for in time of need? Rick Nash? Chris Kreider? What I’m saying is the Rangers had no star power where they need it.
Having Lundqvist stand on his head every game can only last so long. The Rangers need to find themselves guy that they can rely on that can put the puck in the back of the net. Obviously easier said then done, but the Rangers are taking the right initiative in this process by rebuilding. Trading for high draft picks and prospects that could potentially develop into those “it” guys. That is why this rebuilding process is so important to this organization. Getting as many young prospects as possible that have the up-side to have franchise-changing caliber.
Even if Henrik Lundqvist won’t be around for another deep playoff run, I think the Rangers have learned their lesson in regards to building a Stanley Cup challenging team. It takes more then a strong goalie. It takes more than one superstar to bring home the gold. Henrik Lundqvist can’t do it all, as we’ve seen time and time again.