Henrik Lundqvist (born March 2, 1982 in Åre, Sweden) is a Swedish professional ice hockey player1. He evolves to the post of goalkeeper2. He is considered one of the best goalkeepers in the world 3. He has a twin brother, Joel Lundqvist, also a hockey player but who plays as a center.
Career in Europe
After starting hockey at Järpens IF, Lundqvist started his professional career at the age of 18 with the Frölunda HC team, known at the time as Västra Frölunda, of the Elitserien. He had already been playing for a year in the club’s under-20 team2. In 2000, he was also selected in 205th position in the 7th round of the NHL entry draft by the New York Rangers. Despite this, he remained to play in his country for the next five seasons.
In 180 matches with Frölunda, he has an average of 1.96 goals conceded and 92.7% save. The team entered the playoffs for four consecutive seasons, with two league titles in 2003 and 2005.
During the playoffs of the 2004-05 season, he broke four league records:
lowest goals-against rate (1.05);
the best rate of stops (96.2%);
longest playing time without goals allowed (172 minutes and 29 seconds);
highest number of shutouts (6).
He is also named best goalkeeper of the year, best Swedish player of the year for the elite championship but also all championships combined. He thus received the Palet d’or and the Guldhjälmen4.
On September 29, 2005, the Rangers and Lundqvist signed a contract and the Swede landed in North America
Career in the NHL
On October 13, 2005, he achieved his first NHL victory against the New Jersey Devils and four days later his first shutout against the Florida Panthers. Kevin Weekes, the guardian of the Rangers, being injured, he assumes the interim and quickly becomes the darling of the public.
On January 22, against the Devils, he recorded his 20th victory. He is the first Rangers goaltender since Mike Richter to score 20 wins in his debut season. He didn’t stop there and on March 29 against the Islanders, he scored his 30th victory and posted a record for a Rangers goaltender.
At the end of the season, he was a finalist to win the Vézina Trophy but Miikka Kiprusoff of the Calgary Flames eventually beat him. For the Calder trophy for best recruit, he did not end up in the finalists, this because of an exceptional season with the emergence of talents such as Aleksandr Ovetchkine, Sidney Crosby or Dion Phaneuf. He is still named the best rookie goalie in the NHL.
On December 14, 2006, during a game against the Dallas Stars, he faced his twin brother. The match turns to the advantage of the goalkeeper (5-2) 6.
On July 11, 2007, he signed a new one-year contract for US $ 4.25 million (compared to US $ 817,000 he received the previous season7).
On February 12, 2008, the Swedish cerberus signed a long-term contract with the New York Rangers. This 6-year pact will bring him approximately 6.5 million US dollars annually.
At the end of the 2011-2012 season, he was a finalist for the Vézina Trophy with Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings and Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators8. Lundqvist finally receives this award9.
On December 4, 2013, the New York Rangers organization announced that it was extending Lundqvist’s contract for 7 seasons and US $ 59.5 million. He then became the highest paid goaltender in the NHL with an annual salary of 8.5 million US dollars.
In 2000, Lundqvist took his first steps in the international championships by participating with the Swedish under-18 team at the world championships. In 2001 and 2002, he joined the junior team for the junior world championship.
From 2003, he played with the senior national team and in 2003 and 2004 won the silver medal of the world championship. During this last edition, he was crowned best goalkeeper of the tournament and has his place in the typical team of the tournament.
He competed in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, winning the gold medal with Sweden. In six Olympic games, Lundqvist has a record of five wins and one loss, allowing just twelve goals.
In 2010, he participated in the Vancouver Olympics, lining up with the Swedish team. He led all goaltenders at the Games with the best goals-against average and placed 4th for the best save percentage. His team could not qualify for the final four, finishing 5th overall.
After being eliminated with the New York Rangers in the 2nd round of the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs, he joined the Swedish team at the world championship and won the gold medal.