New York Rangers: Henrik Lundqvist and how long the King has left

New York Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
New York Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

How much longer do the New York Rangers realistically have with Henrik  Lundqvist?

The New York Rangers put in a 2017-2018 season that caused them to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2009-2010. It sent many veterans to teams around the league in an abrupt fire sale and put young players in their place. It was also a season that cost Alain Vigneault his job as head coach. The Rangers are a team in transition.

Well, there is one position that is not in transition at all and that is between the pipes. Henrik Lundqvist remains the goalie despite all of the moves for the future. Apparently the team asked him if he would waive his no trade clause and he said no. “The King” is more committed to the Rangers than he is to going somewhere specifically to win a cup. The loyalty is a thing of beauty and something to be admired.

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So the time has come, as we look ahead into the future, to talk about King Henrik. How much longer can we keep him around and expect him to play at a reasonably high level? How long is the window open for the Rangers to bring home a title for Lundqvist?

To discuss this point, we must take a look at other outstanding goalies and look at how successful they were at advanced ages.

This morning we start with Martin Brodeur, he of 21 years playing with the New Jersey Devils. Brodeur was one of the best goalies ever to play in this area as well as one of the top of all time. The epic battles he waged with Mike Richter will stick in our hearts forever.

When Lundqvist turned 35 last season, he turned out five less wins than he did the previous season (31 to 26). Brodeur dropped from 48 to 44 wins when he hit 35 years old. Two years later he was back to 45 wins. Brodeur put up one 30+ win season and one 20+ win season. The point is that there can be life after age 35, even if production went downhill at 35 years old.

Look at former Rangers great Eddie Giacomin. Yes this was a completely different era of NHL hockey but the point is simply the numbers. Eddie dropped from 15 to 12 wins when he turned 35, but jumped back up to 17 wins the following season. He later put up an 18 win season for the Detroit Red Wings.

Next: The King would rather stay in NY than win elsewhere

Finally, we look at Tony Esposito, Hall of Fame member. When he turned 35 years of age, he dropped from 28 wins to 24 wins. The next year, he was huge for the Chicago Blackhawks, winning 31 games. He also won 20+ games twice more, including when he was 39.

Do the Rangers have a huge window with Lundqvist? Probably not. But there is no reason not to believe they could have 3-4 years, more than long enough to take one more run at the cup for a guy that so sorely deserves one.