Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has recommitted his desire to stay with the franchise after a report suggested he wasn’t sure if he would stay in New York for his whole career.
An NHL.com story on Monday, using quotes from a Lundqvist interview with Swedish newspaper Expresen, said Lundqvist’s dream of remaining a career Ranger might not work out.
The 37-year-old wrote an email to New York Post reporter Larry Brooks clarifying his comments and commitment to the Rangers.
“My thinking hasn’t changed. The organization and I are on the same page,” Lundqvist said.
“What I meant is that a player never becomes bigger or more important than an organization. While it is still my goal to win the Cup in New York before I retire, at the same time I understand as a player that I have to respect the position we are in and process we are going through.”
Lundqvist has two more years remaining on his contract with New York, which is currently in a rebuild.
His production last season dipped from what Rangers fans normally expect as he finished with an 18-23-10 record, 3.07 goals-against average and .907 save percentage.
The franchise has sold off several of its mainstays over the last couple years including Mats Zuccarello, Kevin Hayes, Ryan McDonagh, J.T. Miller and Rick Nash. Their record, 32-36-14, has suffered as a result and they were 20 points out of an Eastern Conference wild-card spot at season’s end.
Zuccarello’s trade to Dallas earlier this year hit Lundqvist particularly hard as he got choked up speaking about the deal with reporters.
Rangers GM Jeff Gorton said he recognized the toll trading away a lot of stars may have had on his goaltender.
“I think it was a lot for him mentally to go through that again and it was difficult and showed in his play,” Gorton said after the season. “But when I think of his season, I think of how good he was at the beginning of the year and it didn’t go well for our team from the deadline on, and he is no different than any player.
“The guy is still a great goalie, I’m convinced of that and I just think that it didn’t go his way the last few games and I look for him to be great again.”
Lundqvist has spent his whole career with the Rangers and said before the season there was “no place I would rather be.”
Whether or not management will let him stay with the team during the rebuild remains to be seen as he’s currently being pushed between the pipes by 23-year-old Alexandar Georgiev.
Georgiev made 30 starts for New York in 2018-10 and posted a 2.91 goals-against average and .914 save percentage.