Henrik Lundqvist Announces Retirement From NHL After 15 Seasons With Rangers

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVAugust 20, 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2017, file photo, New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist celebrates his 400th career win, after an NHL hockey game against the Colorado Avalanche, in New York. The New York Rangers have bought out the contract of star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. The Rangers parted with one of the greatest netminders in franchise history on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, when they paid off the final year of his contract. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger, File)
AP Photo/Adam Hunger, File

Longtime New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist announced his retirement from the NHL on Friday.

Henrik Lundqvist @hlundqvist35

<a href="https://t.co/dKKdNxHc8U">pic.twitter.com/dKKdNxHc8U</a>

Lundqvist signed with the Washington Capitals last October but missed the entire 2020-21 season after undergoing open-heart surgery.

The 39-year-old Sweden native won the 2011-12 Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goaltender with the Rangers and led his home country to a gold medal in the 2006 Winter Olympics.

Lundqvist was selected by the Rangers in the seventh round of the 2000 NHL draft, 137 picks after the Dallas Stars took his twin brother, forward Joel Lundqvist, in the third round.

The netminder spent the next five seasons playing for Frolunda in the Swedish Elite League, where he'd started as a youth player, winning the Honken Trophy as the SEL's top goalie three times and leading the franchise to championships in 2003 and 2005.

His long-awaited arrival to the Rangers finally happened for the 2005-06 campaign, and he wasted no time establishing himself as one of the NHL's top goalies with a 2.24 goals-against average and .922 save percentage as a rookie to finish third in Vezina voting.

Lundqvist spent a total of 15 years in the New York crease. He earned five All-Star selections and was named to the NHL's All-Decade Team for the 2010s.

The future Hockey Hall of Famer told Larry Brooks of the New York Post he entered the offseason with hope his career could continue, but he suffered "some setbacks" in his recovery from the heart surgery, which extended the timetable for his potential return.

"I was hoping I would be 100 percent by this time," Lundqvist said. "But I was told that inflammation takes a long time to correct and with medication I might be out of the woods, but it could be another full year before I would be 100 percent."

In turn, he concluded with his family there were "too many unknowns and too much risk" to continue his playing career.

"It's all still fresh," Lundqvist told Brooks. "I decided only a few days ago. But I am at peace. I look back at my career, and all I have is gratitude and pride. I am just so grateful."

He finishes his career with a 459-310-96 record, 2.43 GAA and .918 save percentage across 887 NHL appearances, all for the Rangers. He also posted a 2.30 GAA and .921 save percentage in 130 playoff games.

Along with the future call from the Hall of Fame, Lundqvist will also likely have his No. 30 jersey number retired by the Rangers.